Severe Respiratory Illness in Midwest Caused by Enterovirus D68

wheezingEnterovirus D68 cases in children have been reported in the news, with most cases from Missouri and Illinois, resulting in several children being hospitalized in intensive care.  Should you worry?  No.

There have been no deaths, there have been 79 cases between 2009 and 2013 and of the 19 patients in Kansas City and 11 from Chicago this year (2014), all but one were admitted to the ICU but no one has died, thankfully.  Enterovirus can be spread through respiratory means (cough) and direct contact with oral and fecal secretions.  This particular strain of enterovirus is causing mostly respiratory symptoms; shortness of breath, wheezing with 18-25% having fever. 

The key, if you are a parent, is to have your child seen if they are struggling to breathe, seem hungry for air, or have a severe cough or wheeze.  This is no different from how you would act if your child with past asthma was having a bad asthma episode or your otherwise well child started to breathe fast, seem to be air hungry or had a severe and persistent cough.  

You don’t need to panic if your child has a cold and cough but they are breathing fine and acting fine.

 

For the full report from MMWR, read here…

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

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