CDC.300The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that hospitals in Missouri and Illinois are seeing more children than usual with severe respiratory illness caused by enterovirus D68, and hospitals in other states are paying close attention to clusters of children presenting with similar symptoms possibly caused by the same virus. More than half of the 30 children with confirmed cases, diagnosed at children’s hospitals in Kansas City, MO and Chicago, have histories of asthma or wheezing.

Officials with the CDC say the agency is monitoring the situation very closely, and they recommend that healthcare providers consider the virus as a possible cause for any severe respiratory illnesses they are seeing in young children right now. The CDC is working to assist states in testing for the virus and asking providers to report unusual upswings in severe respiratory cases to state and local health authorities.

EV-D68 was first isolated in California in 1962 but has been rarely reported in the U.S.  As with other enteroviruses, this strain, is common in summer and fall and tends to spread through close contact with infected people. While there are no vaccines or treatments for the virus, the CDC is offering the following prevention tips for managing the spread of the illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers,
  • Avoid close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, with people who are sick, and
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

To read the release, regarding the spread of severe respiratory illness associated with Enterovirus D68, issued via the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reportclick here.