Epidemiological dynamics of enterovirus D68 in the US: implications for acute flaccid myelitis.


The lack of active surveillance for enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in the US has hampered the ability to assess the relationship with predominantly biennial epidemics of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare but serious neurological condition. Using novel surveillance data from the BioFireĀ® Syndromic Trends (Trend) epidemiology network, we characterize the epidemiological dynamics of EV-D68 and demonstrate strong spatiotemporal association with AFM. Although the recent dominant biennial cycles of EV-D68 dynamics may not be stable, we show that a major EV-D68 epidemic, and hence an AFM outbreak, would still be possible in 2020 under normal epidemiological conditions. Significant social distancing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could reduce the size of an EV-D68 epidemic in 2020, illustrating the potential broader epidemiological impact of the pandemic.

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