Symptoms of a mysterious and deadly respiratory virus continues to creep across the county and infect a record numbers of children. More than a dozen states including Georgia have already seen children with symptoms. At this time six states have confirmed cases of Enterovirus 68. Georgia has no confirmed cases. As of Friday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC in Atlanta reported that the virus has made its way to the Northeast with more than a dozen confirmed cases showing up in New York. There are additional unconfirmed cases in Connecticut.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center spokesman Bob Fraleigh, told UPI, “We will not know anything further until the CDC has had the opportunity to run their tests and then communicate those results back to us.”
More than 1000 children have been infected so far. Children with asthma and those under the age of 5 are most susceptible.
The virus, also known as EV-D68 is in the family of enterovirus. These viruses are common causes of cold-like symptoms that are typically seen during the month of September. But what has doctors puzzled this year is the unusually high number of sick children over taking hospital emergency rooms across the nation.
The CDC advises parents that common cold symptoms like: sneezing, coughing, running noise and fever are expected for a cold. But if those symptoms turn into wheezing, difficulty breathing, a rash, coughing and fever, immediately seek medical attention.
With children well into the school year, one of the greatest parent concerns is that EV-D68 is able to live on surfaces. How can parents keep themselves and their children safe from this respiratory illnesses? The CDC offers these tips:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
- Avoid contact with sick children, as well, children with cold symptom should stay home from school.
The CDC says there is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. There is also no antiviral medications or vaccines.
For mild respiratory illness, some symptoms can be relieve by taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. However, doctors warn that aspirin should not be given to children. People with severe respiratory illness should be hospitalized as soon as possible.