More than a dozen children in New York have been diagnosed with EV- D68, a rare respiratory infection, the state Health Department said Friday. The enterovirus that had been making children sick across the United States has now reached the northeast side of the country.
The New York State Department of Health urged parents and health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the virus, which has already made several children sick in dozen of states. The health department said that the cases have been “confirmed in the Central Region and Central New York,” while the department had also received sample specimens from other regions for testing.
"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,” Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, 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."
The virus, which is transmitted through close contact with an infected person, has its worst impact on children, particularly among those with asthma.
Severe cases of EV-D68, which was first identified in California in 1962, have been reported in Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health reported that there have been 97 confirmed cases of EV- D68 across the U.S. since mid-August, FOX CT reported.
“We’re starting to see a few just in the last day or so, where I’m really suspicious that’s what’s happening,” Dr. Nicholas Bennett of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, told FOX CT. “I guess the concern about the virus is how quickly and how severely the kids have been affected with their breathing.”
The NYS Department of Health also revealed in the statement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC has been closely working with health departments in several states “to investigate suspected clusters of respiratory illness.”
“DOH is working with the CDC and partnering with local health departments and health care providers to monitor the spread of severe respiratory illnesses in New York and asking health care providers to report clusters or outbreaks of severe respiratory illnesses to their local health department or to DOH,” the statement read.