Tags: enterovirus 68 | midwest | virus | respiratory | kids

Enterovirus 68: What Is Sickening Hundreds of Kids in the Midwest?

By    |   Monday, 08 Sep 2014 01:13 PM

Enterovirus D68, a serious respiratory infection, has hospitalized hundreds of children in the U.S. Midwest as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scrambles to track the illness and limit its spread.

In Missouri, officials have reported more than 300 cases of the respiratory illness at one pediatric hospital in Kansas City alone, with 15 percent of those patients requiring intensive care, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services told Reuters.

The CDC told CNN that outbreaks have also affected kids in Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Georgia.

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"It's worse in terms of scope of critically ill children who require intensive care," Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, a director for infectious diseases at Kansas City's Children's Mercy Hospital, told CNN. "I would call it unprecedented. I've practiced for 30 years in pediatrics, and I've never seen anything quite like this."

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a health alert last month, stating that, while most enteroviruses are not serious, the EV-D68 infection can lead to some serious consequences.

"EV-D68 infections occur less commonly than those with other enteroviruses," the Missouri alert stated. "EV-D68, like other enteroviruses, appears to spread through close contact with infected people. This virus was first isolated in California in 1962 from four children with bronchiolitis and pneumonia, and has been reported rarely since that time."

"Unlike the majority of enteroviruses that cause a clinical disease manifesting as a mild upper respiratory illness, febrile rash illness, or neurologic illness (such as aseptic meningitis and encephalitis), EV-D68 has been associated almost exclusively with respiratory disease," the alert continued. "EV-D68 usually causes mild to severe respiratory illness; however, the full spectrum of EV-D68 illness is not well-defined."

The department has issued several recommendations to reduce the spread of EV-D68: Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers; avoid touching one's eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick; disinfect surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, if someone is sick; and stay home if you're not feeling well.

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Enterovirus D68, a serious respiratory infection, has hospitalized hundreds of children in the U.S. Midwest as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scrambles to track the illness and limit its spread.
enterovirus 68, midwest, virus, respiratory, kids
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2014-13-08
Monday, 08 Sep 2014 01:13 PM
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