(HealthDay News) — Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have a total of 213 confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68, the severe respiratory illness that typically targets children, U.S. health officials are reporting.
Officials said the 29 states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia. So far, all the cases have involved children, except for one adult, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC is asking doctors and public health officials to consider Enterovirus D68 as a potential suspect if widespread respiratory illnesses start occurring in their communities. Illness associated with the Enterovirus D68 infection typically lasts about a week. Children will appear to have a severe cold, with runny nose, sneezing, and cough. But the illness can escalate quickly in some cases, and the child may start to have trouble breathing. It’s typically transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes, according to health officials.
“It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses,” New York state acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, said in a statement. “Because there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus, our best defense is to prevent it by practicing proper hygiene.”