The Health Board (Terviseamet) says it is monitoring the situation with Enteric cytopathic human orphan (Echo) virus-11 cases, which have already been reported in Europe. The virus, which is often symptom-less, though can lead to influenza-like symptoms. and, much more rarely, viral meningitis, has not been detected in Estonia at present.
Irina Donchenko, adviser to the Health Board's department of epidemiology and infectious diseases, said: "Hospitals are certainly testing patients who present with signs of meningitis, encephalitis, while if they suspect an enterovirus, these samples are taken too."
"In the normal run of things, this disease proceeds either as an intestinal infection or via a more severe course, for instance if children have developed either encephalitis or meningitis. These are the more difficult cases, and there is no specific treatment," she went on, adding that there was no vaccine against Echovirus-11 either.
What is currently needed to be treated is treated, and there is no vaccine against this disease either. Donchenko said
The Health Board's laboratory now has the capacity to identify Echovirus-11, and this week it sent instructions to hospitals for sampling.
The board is also to monitor the spread of the virus via regular wastewater monitoring studies, as were frequently utilized during the Covid pandemic.
In more severe cases, the virus can lead to encephalitis or meningitis.
This year, so far three such cases of have been registered in Estonia, but it is currently unknown whether they could have been caused by Echovirus-11.
Since last year, 19 cases of Echovirus-11 have been reported Europe-wide, and have resulted in nine children's deaths.
While the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control considers the disease risk low, it has called on member states to report cases to it.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael