The Norwegian tourist who reported skin spread, fever and general malaise and was treated as a case under investigation. Because monkeypox was suspected, he did not have this disease. Instead, lab tests determined that his symptoms were due to an enterovirus infection.
What is this disease and what is the pathogen that causes it? Enteroviruses are a large group of viruses, the number of which is estimated at more than 100. The virus that causes polio, for example, is an enterovirus. Some of these viruses form skin outbreaks such as those seen in monkeypox. They also have other symptoms in common, such as fever, weakness, or general malaise.
Enteroviruses mainly affect children, but this does not exclude adults who are seen as in the case of this 21-year-old Norwegian citizen.
“We see enteroviruses frequently. So now adult doctors are starting to see more of it. The virus is classic in children and is now “entering the adult world, so to speak,” said pediatric infectious disease specialist Maria Luisa Avila.
Avila pointed out that enteroviruses, in general, are not very aggressive, their symptoms are mild and people recover on their own within a few days, as seen in the Norwegian tourist.
It was not clear how the tourist contracted the infection, or whether she was actually infected when she arrived on Costa Rican territory. However, transmission of these viruses usually occurs through direct contact with respiratory secretions or faeces, but can also come from contaminated environmental sources, such as water.
According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), these pathogens have an incubation period (the time between infection and first appearances) of three to six days. Symptoms usually last from one to three days, but in some cases they can last up to 14 days.
For Avila, the fact that there are laboratories in the country first excludes the presence of other viruses that allows for better monitoring.
In this type of disease, having no suspects at all is suspicious. He concluded that the presence of suspects is an indication that surveillance is working and there is a possibility of excluding them.