New flu virus hits Denmark

Virus may cause temporary paralysis in children under five

The virus known as EV-D68, which has affected more than 1,100 people in the US, has now been reported in Denmark, reports TV2.

Thea Kølsen Fischer, head doctor at the State Serum Institute, confirmed a French boy was infected with the virus and suffered paralysis and respiratory problems. The boy needed a ventilator to help him breathe.

“The reason the disease mainly affects children is that we as adults have been exposed to a lot of viruses throughout our lives,” Fischer said. “Consequently many of us formed antibodies against many diseases, including enterovirus diseases [like EV-D68], that many children have not formed yet.”

Last week in Norway two children were struck with temporary paralysis in possible connection with the virus.

Increased cases in 2014
According to Fischer there are very few cases of this virus. Since 2009 there have only been three cases reported in Denmark and by 2012 there were only 95 cases worldwide. However, this year there have been between 1,200 and 1,300 cases reported globally.

In the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is testing to see if there is a direct correlation between the virus and temporary paralysis since 70 children affected with the virus experienced respiratory problems leading up to the paralysis.

Fischer added that a random sampling of 60 patients suffering from respiratory infections showed that one in seven had EV-D68.

Much like the flu
The virus shares the same symptoms as the ordinary flu – fever, runny nose, coughing, muscle aches and painful swallowing. In most cases the virus requires the same treatment. However, severe symptoms can include wheezing and difficulty breathing.

The virus is also spread in the same ways as the ordinary flu.

Fischer recommends, however, that if a child suffers from asthma or a chronic lung disease or has a weakened immune system, parents should consult a doctor as that group of children is more at risk and antibiotics will not have any affect.