Q&A on the News

Q: Since the word root “entero” means “of or relating to the intestine,” why is the current virus outbreak that’s affecting children being called an enterovirus? The symptoms seem to affect the respiratory system, so what is this virus’ connection to the intestines?

—Michelle Hutchinson, Marietta

A: There are many kinds of enteroviruses, most of which are transmitted through the gastrointestinal tract, but "some can be spread through the respiratory tract and have respiratory tract symptoms," Dr. James P. Steinberg, a professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at the Emory University School of Medicine, told Q&A on the News in an email."With most enteroviruses, viral shedding from the GI tract is more prolonged than shedding from the respiratory tract and fecal-oral transmission is the main mode of transmission."

Enteroviruses that cause respiratory illnesses also can be spread through respiratory secretions, but some symptoms of enteroviral infection can be “unrelated to the mode of acquisition,” Steinberg wrote. “For example, polio virus is a classic enterovirus with oral-fecal transmission but it causes a neurological illness.” Other enteroviruses can cause meningitis or conjunctivitis of the eye.

Q: What are they going to do with the leftover space on Ga. 400, where they tore down all the toll buildings?

—Ed Carmichel, Atlanta

A: The Georgia Department of Transportation is paving the road in that area for an upcoming lane shift, a State Road and Tollway Authority spokeswoman told Q&A on the News in an email. Ga. 400 will feature "extra wide shoulders and the remaining space will be grassed," she wrote.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).