Common Picornavirus Infections Enterovirus

Piconavirus belongs to a family of RNA viruses and more specifically to the piconaviridae family. It contains several genera and one of these is the enteroviruses. Being second only to the viruses causing common cold with regard to infectivity potential, enteroviruses are the 2nd commonest cause for virus infections in humans and the diseases manifesting by its presence can range from a mild cold like disease to a more severe muscle paralysis as in the case of poliomyelitis. However, it should be noted that there are about 63 non polio enterovirus strains currently being identified by the scientific community along with another 2 polio causing strains.

What are the diseases caused by enteroviruses?

As mentioned earlier, poliomyelitis is the most significant of the lot although it has been eradicated in many parts of the world with effective vaccination. But, apart from this, enterovirses could be responsible for diseases such as, aseptic meningitis, pericarditis, myocarditis, acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, hand foot and mouth disease, encephalitis, pleurodynia, chronic fatigue syndrome…etc although its commonest presentation may be a non specific febrile illness.

What are the symptoms of enterovirus infections?

In most instances, the only manifestations of enterovirus infections would be mild flu like symptoms including fever, body aches, muscle aches and rashes. But, in certain instances, there may be signs related to brain involvement and even more rarely signs such as paralysis.

How does enterovirus spread?

According to researchers, the enterovirus will be present in respiratory secretions such as saliva, mucous, sputum or else in feces of an infected person. Therefore, these viruses has the ability to spread from one person to another when an infected person sneeze, cough, or even when someone shares something with an infected person such as drinking from the same glass. At the same time, these viruses can remain on a surface for some time and therefore if a person touches a contaminated surface, they can also acquire enterovirus infections even without direct contact.

How do you treat infections caused by this virus?

There is not effective treatment available for enterovirus infections and the mainstay of treatment would be supportive. As such, adequate fluid intake, rest as well as taking paracetamol like analgesics to relieve aches and pain would be the modes of treatment during the acute illness.

How to prevent its spread?

By adhering to good hygienic practices such as cough etiquette, hand washing…etc the incidence of enterovirus infections could be minimized and in instances where one is suspected of having a enterovirus infection, confining themselves to home till they recover would be a wise approach for the sack of the patient as well as for the others.