E is for...Enterovirus 68 | HAI Controversies

Eli Perencevich:

Never a dull moment. Just as facilities have begun wrapping up their Ebola preparation plans, there’s gathering evidence that several US states may be facing large clusters of acute respiratory illness associated with human enterovirus 68 (EV68).

Great post on the recent enterovirus outbreak (including a discussion of a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from 2011 discussing an outbreak of EV68).

I have been working in the ED during this period and we have certainly been very busy.

What bothers me is the lack of information about the extent of this outbreak. Our current understanding is limited to what individual hospitals and health departments are investigating on their own. We have invested billions of dollars in health information infrastructure, yet there is no easy way for an entity like the CDC to quickly pull microbiology data from hospitals [1]. At a bare minimum, all decent sized academic medical centers run their own micro labs and organize patient data in databases—if not full EMRs—and we should be able to link those together and query them.

Unfortunately, we probably won’t know the full extent for quite some time as we use proven, but antiquated epidemiological tools.

Enterovirus–68-like Respiratory Virus Sickening Children Across the US | NEJM Journal Watch

  1. At least not that I’m aware of and nothing has been reported from such a system.  ↩