Coding Ebola Virus and Enterovirus D68

By Melanie Endicott

Ebola Virus

The Ebola virus is front page news everywhere you turn. Tracking of the Ebola outbreak in the United States with coded data is imprecise due to the lack of a specific code for Ebola in ICD-9-CM. This is yet another reason that the ICD-10-CM/PCS code sets need to be implemented on October 1, 2015.

The below table shows the codes for Ebola virus in ICD-9 vs. ICD-10.

Coding the Ebola Virus
ICD-9-CM (two non-specific codes available) ICD-10-CM (one specific code)
065.8, Other specified arthropod-borne hemorrhagic fever A98.4, Ebola virus disease
078.89, Other specified diseases due to virus

It’s important for coders to recognize the integral signs and symptoms of Ebola. Here is the list from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage

The Coalition for ICD-10, which is a broad-based healthcare industry advocacy group united in the support of the US adoption of ICD-10, created a very informative infographic to illustrate the need for ICD-10 for reporting outbreaks such as Ebola.

Enterovirus D68

Another big healthcare topic in the media this fall is Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). This year there have been 1,112 confirmed cases of EV-D68 in 47 states and the District of Columbia between mid-August and November, according to the CDC. EV-D68 is affecting children with asthma most severely, and it has been detected in specimens from nine children who died. Once again, the codes describing Enterovirus are subpar in ICD-9-CM and will see much greater enhancements for reporting in ICD-10-CM. See the below table for a comparison of the codes in ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM.

Coding Enterovirus
ICD-9-CM (one non-specific code ICD-10-CM (one specific code
079.89, Other specified viral infection B97.19, Other Enterovirus as the cause of diseases classified elsewhere

Melanie Endicott, MBA/HCM, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA, is senior director of HIM practice excellence, coding and CDI products development at AHIMA. She has over 15 years experience in HIM and coding, with her most recent focus being in ICD-10-CM/PCS, and has presented numerous times at the regional, state, and national levels on HIM and coding topics. She was previously a director of HIM practice excellence, focusing on coding products, resources, and education, at AHIMA. Melanie is an AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer and an ICD-10 Ambassador.

Original source:
Endicott, Melanie. "Coding Ebola Virus and Enterovirus D68" (Journal of AHIMA website), November 12, 2014.