Human enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a member of the species Enterovirus D
of the Picornaviridae
family, was first isolated in 1962 in the United States. EV-D68 infection was only infrequently reported until an outbreak occurred in 2014 in the US; since then, it has continued to increase worldwide. EV-D68 infection leads to severe respiratory illness and has recently been reported to be linked to the development of the neurogenic disease known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), mostly in children, seriously endangering public health. Hitherto, treatment options for EV-D68 infections were limited to supportive care, and as yet there are no approved, specific antiviral drugs or vaccines. Research on EV-D68 has mainly focused on its epidemiology, and its virologic characteristics and pathogenesis still need to be further explored. Here, we provide an overview of current research on EV-D68, including the genotypes and genetic characteristics of recent epidemics, the mechanism of infection and virus–host interactions, and its relationship to acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), in order to broaden our understanding of the biological features of EV-D68 and provide a basis for the development of effective antiviral agents.
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