New, Faster Test for Enterovirus D68 Released

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed and started using a new, faster lab test for detecting enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in specimens from people in the United States with respiratory illness. This test will allow CDC to more rapidly test remaining specimens received from states since mid-September.

Testing for EV-D68 is not used to determine treatment for a particular patient. Treatment for patients with EV-D68 is supportive therapy, such as oxygen therapy.  The outcome of the EV-D68 test is to collect surveillance data to help public health officials target responses to the outbreak, not to determine the treatment plan for a specific patient.  CDC prioritized testing for the most severe cases since the outbreak began in August to get a better understanding of the disease.

As CDC tests the remaining specimens it has received since mid-September, the number of confirmed EV-D68 cases will likely increase substantially in the coming days. These increases will not reflect changes in real time or mean that the situation is getting worse.  Ultimately, faster testing will help to better show the trends of this outbreak since August and to monitor changes that are occurring now. CDC expects to complete testing of the remaining specimens that were received since mid-September within about seven to 10 days; going from testing about 40 specimens per day to testing up to 180 per day.  This will allow us to then test and report results for new specimens within a few days of receiving them.

Read more information about the test and what the CDC hopes to learn.




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