How Enterovirus Affects the Nervous System of Children

Enteroviruses they have always been, are and will be close to us, our children and the entire world population. They are not exotic or native to distant countries such as Ebola, Zika, Chikungunya ...

Enteroviruses are not usually very troublesome, but symptoms can sometimes be complicated.

Enteroviruses, most of the time, even if they visit us, they will do so without too much trouble. In fact, it is the cause of all these diseases:

- The 'foot-hand-mouth' virus.

- Herpangina (a type of viral sore throat).

- Some gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea).

- Some colds or some bronchitis.

Well, many of these diseases are caused by the famous and current enteroviruses. If you have an acquaintance or family member over 52-55 years old with one leg much thinner and weaker than the otherAs a child, what has led him to limp all his life was due to the fearsome polio, also produced by an enterovirus that was cornered thanks to vaccines (pediatricians always recommend vaccination).

The word enterovirus makes clear the preferred location of these microorganisms: in whole Greek it is said "εντερο" y means intestine, in or in.

We all know the symptoms of gastroenteritis. Enteroviruses are viruses that they can be found in the intestine and are usually excreted in the feces. But they can also be transmitted by coughing or speaking or by saliva; that's why we call the diseases that are easy to transmit in these two ways, fecal-oral diseases.

Therefore, the best way to keep them at bay is washing our hands with soap and water when changing diapers, before eating, etc. and avoid talking or coughing near the face of another person or another child without a handkerchief that hinders the spread of viruses, if we are / are sick (although 50-80% of the time, viruses are also transmitted from carriers without symptoms).

Must be emphasized that in most cases, the symptoms that these enteroviruses produce are: mucus, cough, fever, rashes or diarrhea, grouping in a combinatorial way, two by two, three by three, four by four or all together; on many other occasions we will only find one of these symptoms. As you can see, the possibilities are numerous.

What is not so frequent is that these viruses attack to the child's nervous system. And in that you do have to be very attentive. In these cases, the enterovirus can cause meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis, or other serious symptoms, but this is not new. In 2001, a Hospital in Oviedo (Spain) reviewed the histories of 94 cases of viral meningitis that occurred between May 1996 and September 1997; In 63% of the cases the cause was infection by an enterovirus (in the medical literature it is stated that enteroviruses are responsible for 85-95% of viral meningitis in children). In this outbreak studied, all evolved well and without sequelae.

Outbreaks are common in late spring, early summer, and fall, although they can 'attack' at any time of year as it happens in countries with a tropical climate. The age group in which there are usually more cases is situated below 6 years and in the group that affects us it is over 2 years of life.

Consulted bibliography:

Treaty of Pediatrics M Cruz, 2006

Enterovirus Infections of the Central Nervous System in Children (H. Rudolph H. Schroten February 2016)

Enterovirus meningitis. Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory characteristics in a series of 60 children. (C. Pérez Méndeza)

Department of Health Generalitat de Catalunya

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