Enteroviruses are common and can cause cold-like illnesses; hand, foot and mouth disease; and skin rashes. Some types of enteroviruses can cause more serious illnesses such as meningitis, encephalitis and acute flaccid myelitis. All enteroviruses are spread through contact with an infected person’s feces; eye, nose and mouth secretions (such as saliva, nasal mucus or sputum); and fluid from blisters caused by the virus. Some people with enteroviruses have no symptoms but still can spread the virus to others.
Ways you can prevent spreading enteroviruses:
Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers
Avoid close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, with people who are sick
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
Enterovirus A-71 (EV-A71)
In 2018, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is investigating a number of children with infections and complications thought to be caused by enterovirus A71 (EV-A71). EV-A71 is a less-common type of enterovirus in the United States and usually causes mild illness but it can also cause serious illnesses like muscle spasms, meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain), encephalitis (infection of the brain), and acute flaccid myelitis (a sudden onset of weakness in one or more arms or legs).
- CDC Enterovirus A-71 webpage.
Child care providers
The spread of enteroviruses and other germs at your child care facility can be limited by practicing good hand washing, cleaning, and diapering procedures.
- Controlling the Spread of Enterovirus (including EV-A71) in Child Care Settings.
- CDC diaper changing steps for child care facilities.
Health care providers
- Health Update 2 (September 2018): Neurologic complications associated with enterovirus A71 infection in children.
- Health Update 1 (June 2018): Neurologic complications associated with enterovirus A71 infection in children.
- Health Advisory (June 2018): Neurologic complications associated with enterovirus A71 in children.
Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68)
In the late summer of 2014 during a nation-wide outbreak of enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68), an increase in children with unexplained limb and face muscle weakness was seen in Colorado. Twelve cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in Colorado residents thought to be cause by EV-D68 were reported.
Enterovirus and Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)
AFM is a rare condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. It has a variety of causes, including viral infections such as enterovirus. A person who appears to have a sudden onset of weakness in the arms or legs, should contact a health care provider.