By Miriam Raftery
September 13, 2014 (San Diego) – A virus suspected of sickening hundreds of children in the Midwest this summer is spreading across the nation, with 80 cases confirmed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports.
Cases were reported this week in several states from East Coast to the South and now, the West. Doctors at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego say that several children in the intensive care unit here are suspected of harboring the virus, CBS Channel 8 reports.
Enteroviruses D68 are common, infecting over a million people a year. But the Enterovirus D68 strain is causing more severe cases in the past, and authorities are not sure why. With flu season coming, the outbreaks have health officials concerned.
Tests to confirm the outbreak locally are pending. In the Midwest and elsewhere, including New York City, cases of Enterovirus D68 have caused extreme respiratory distress including asthma-like attacks and wheezing. One child admitted locally had blue lips and was drifting into unconsciousness when admitted.
Dr. Stuart Breisch told CBS that in addition to cold-like symptoms and trouble breathing, parents should look for skin sunken in above a child’s clavicle, or collar bone.
Frequent hand washing, especially after touching the eyes, nose or mouth, can help prevent spread of the disease. Parents should also keep sick children home from school.