CDC: Respiratory Virus Affecting Children in Multiple States

Health officials concerned about a wider outbreak, urge good hygiene to limit exposure

TUESDAY, Sept. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A respiratory virus has stricken more than 1,000 children across several states, requiring hospitalization in some and prompting concerns of a wider outbreak, health officials reported Monday.

Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, is largely responsible for two clusters of respiratory illness in Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago, Assistant Surgeon General Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the U.S. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a news conference Monday. Missouri, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma have sent samples to the CDC for analysis, according to news reports. About 15 percent of more than 300 children treated for respiratory illness in Missouri have ended up in an intensive care unit, according to a health alert from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Children's Hospital Colorado reports that 86 children out of more than 900 treated for severe respiratory illness since Aug. 18 have been hospitalized.

Children infected with this virus will appear to have a severe cold, with runny nose, sneezing and cough, according to Children's Hospital Colorado. But the illness can escalate quickly in some cases, and the child may start to have trouble breathing.

Children and adults should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on a regular basis. They also should avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home if they themselves fall ill. Children with asthma need to stay on top of their symptoms and take their medication, public health officials said.

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