Enteroviruses are the most common cause of gastrointestinal illness in the United States each year and the second most common cause of respiratory illness after the common cold (Rhinovirus).
There are 20 million new Enterovirus infections (acute) each year in the United States and it is more prevalent in southern areas than in northern areas. The prevalence of chronic disease could be in the millions, as most patients get diagnosed with other ailments, not an enterovirus infection.
Acute EV infections are more prevalent among young boys, but after puberty, more females contract it.
Most of the chronic EV patients are white females in the 3rd and 4th decade of life, but people of all racial and economic backgrounds get EV infections.
Chronic EV infections may be more common among women because their immune responses fluctuate more drastically than men's. Menstruation, ovulation, and even puberty, can be immunosuppressive.
One Year of EV collection
Enteroviruses are seasonal viruses, with the majority of infections occurring in summer and early fall, but in tropical and semitropical areas, infections can occur all year round.
Some years can exhibit more virulent strains than others, which produce more severe symptoms.
Spread of illness within family members of infected individuals occurred with 50% of siblings and 25% of parents contracting disease.
Infants and young children are hit hardest, however adolescents and children are afflicted as well.
In March of 2014, 25 children from California became infected with EV-68, which is a rare strain that can cause paralysis. It can penetrate the brain stem, like Polio, but it is not Poliovirus. To read about it, please press here.
Another EV-68 outbreak occurred in the Midwest of August/September 2014. It caused paralysis in several children and even caused fatalities in a few adults. Anyone can get an EV infection. To read about the Midwest outbreak, press here.
The unsettling fact about enteroviruses is that they can spread to various organs and persist in the body for years -- potentially causing disease long after the initial infection.
When looking at Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), researchers believe that more than 80% of all cases are caused by Enteroviruses.
Twenty years ago, at least 800,000 Americans had CFS, now the number has increased to 7.5 million Americans (2.5% of the U.S. population), according to CDC study in 2007.