Sanidad warns public to adopt “extreme hygiene” as three cases of viral encephalitis are found in toddlers in Los Realejos municipality

Updated 19 April: The head of the Encephalitis Society, Dr Ava Easton, has given me a link to the society’s website HERE for anyone who may like support or advice about the condition. The society is based in north Yorkshire, so everything is in English.

Original post 18 April: The Public Health section of the Canarian Government’s Health Department has announced three cases of viral encephalitis in the Los Realejos municipality. All cases were in very young children around two years of age, one of whom has been released from hospital and is now at home while the other two are said to be recovering with a favourable prognosis. The condition, however, is extremely serious, involving inflammation of the brain, and Sanidad is advising hygiene prevention methods while it investigates the possible source of the virus, thought to be an enterovirus.

Tbe Government says that enterovirus infection is widespread worldwide, with children and adolescents being infected and suffering from the disease more frequently than adults. Enteroviruses can cause a range of illnesses including conjunctivitis, respiratory conditions, encephalitis, and meningitis. They circulate throughout the year and outbreaks cannot be predicted.

The enteroviruses are transmitted by respiratory secretions, e.g., saliva, spittle, mucus, and in faeces, and there are no vaccines available. Prevention is therefore key, and Sanidad advises extreme hygiene, paying particular attention to children’s hand washing, and frequent cleaning and disinfection of any surfaces that could be infected. Evidently any children thought to be infected should be kept home from school, and the medical authorities informed.

Given the range of enteroviruses it’s difficult to be specific about symptoms, but generally they include rashes, chest congestion or pain, breathing difficulty, fever, conjunctivitis or blurred vision.

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