Closeup of a child's soapy hands being washed under running water in a sink

Information for Parents & Students on Virus Causing Illness in Iowa

Washing HandsYou may have seen news stories about cases of a respiratory virus called Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) making people ill in some Midwest states, including Iowa. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, Enteroviruses are common viruses that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, usually in the summer and fall.


To help keep our students healthy, we are encouraging students to:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.


The West Des Moines Community Schools will continue to clean classrooms and disinfect doorknobs and light switches daily. In addition, some staff are regularly disinfecting toys, desks, and chairs.


The following is additional information from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

  • EV-D68 often begins like a cold and symptoms include coughing and wheezing; most people will recover at home without complications. However, some people with severe respiratory caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive therapy.
  • Infants, children, and teenagers, especially those with a history of asthma or those who have a condition that compromises their immune system, are most likely to become severely ill.
  • Parents of children with cold-like symptoms that experience difficulty breathing should contact their health care provider.
  • Enteroviruses, including EV-D68, are not a reportable disease in Iowa or the U.S.; therefore, the number of cases of the virus is not tracked.
  • There are currently no medications available for treatment for EV-D68 infections and there is no vaccine available for the virus. Most infections resolve on their own and require only treatment at home.


For concerns or questions about your child’s health, please contact your health care provider.