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D68 Virus Could Pose More of a Threat to US Than Ebola: Health Experts

By    |   Friday, 10 Oct 2014 01:31 PM

The current D68 virus outbreak is the largest ever recorded in the United States, and health experts say the illness could pose more of a threat to Americans than Ebola.

The revelation emerged this week in Philadelphia at the annual gathering of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Forbes reported. The enterovirus D68 has been reported in 46 states and the District of Columbus, with more than 678 cases confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five children have reportedly died from the infection.

Dr. Aaron Milstone, of Johns Hopkins Children's Centers, told NPR that scientists have not yet been able to determine why the current outbreak is occurring.

"This is different this year, what we're seeing," Milstone said. "Something is different."

The CDC reports that infants, children, and teenagers are more at chance to come down with the virus because they do not yet have immunity from previous exposures. The agency said children with asthma are also at higher risk for severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 infection.

"[The] CDC is prioritizing testing of specimens from children with severe respiratory illness," the agency said on its website. "There are likely many children affected with milder forms of illness. Of the specimens tested by the CDC lab, about half have tested positive for EV-D68 . . . Almost all the confirmed cases this year of EV-D68 infection have been among children. Many of the children had asthma or a history of wheezing."

The Midwest continues to take the brunt of the epidemic, Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, of the Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, said, adding that her facility had up to 100 patients in its pediatric intensive care unit at one time, three times the number it had over the last two years.

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The current D68 virus outbreak is the largest ever recorded in the United States, and health experts say the illness could pose more of a threat to Americans than Ebola.
d68, virus, enterovirus, new jersey
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2014-31-10
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 01:31 PM
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