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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

HEALTH ALERT: Enterovirus Sickening Children in 11 States -- Expected to Spread

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that a virus called the enterovirus 68 has now spread to children in 11 states, affecting 1,000 children. It's a rare virus that seems to be spreading.

What is the enterovirus 68?

According to a report by the CDC, enterovirus 68 begins with symptoms that are very similar to the common cold. Most of those who are being infected range in age from 6 weeks to 16 years, and most of the illnesses are occurring in children aged 4 and 5. The virus starts out like a cold but quickly turns into something more serious leading to severe respiratory problems.

States affected so far

Currently, the states affected by enterovirus include Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Atlanta, Utah and Georgia. According to the CDC, the list is expected to grow.

What to watch for

CDC encourages parents to watch for the following symptoms:
  • wheezing
  • gasping for air
  • difficulty breathing or speaking

Seek medical help immediately

CDC states that the virus is highly contagious, it is dangerous and is evolving quickly. Over 900 children in Colorado alone have been hospitalized, and 300 suspected cases have been reported in Missouri. Since the virus spreads by contact with respiratory secretions like saliva and mucous and also feces, CDC recommends washing hands thoroughly and often, covering the mouth when coughing, staying away from people who are sick and staying home if you have symptoms. Young people and those with other health problems are especially encouraged to watch for this virus.

To read the report from the CDC, visit
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