Enterovirus 68, a lung virus, is rapidly spreading, infecting children across the United States, particularly the mid-west states, but also moving south. The virus is spreading through schools with hundreds of cases on the rise. The CDC warns an infection begins with common cold symptoms and can quickly make a serious turn. A study from the University of Arizona proves that virus spreading can occur within hours. Dr. Schaffner:
When children get close together in school, circulate for prolonged periods of time indoors, that is an ideal circumstance for this respiratory virus to spread from child to child.
Over a dozen identifying cases confirm the human enterovirus 68 in the state of New York. Officials send samples to the CDC in which the results return positive. Health Department:
EV-D68 is causing cases of severe respiratory illness … sometimes resulting in hospitalization, especially among children with asthma.
It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses. Because there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus, our best defense is to prevent it by practicing proper hygiene.
California is the first western state to confirm the virus. The state chief health official identifies four cases of enterovirus D68 in two separate counties with ages ranging from two to 13 years old. More occurrences are suspected as officials wait for lab tests to return. Dr. Chapman said the spread of the respiratory illness to California is no surprise. Dr. Pannaraj:
There will definitely be more. It’s just a matter of time. This will spread across the entire country. These children start with what seems like a normal cold on the first day – runny nose, a little bit of cough – but by the second day, they can’t breathe at all. They come in and they need a tube to help them breathe. It’s probably evolved in a way that’s allowed it to spread more easily from person to person, and that’s why we’ve seen so many more cases this year.