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Rare enterovirus affecting children in at least 6 states

iStock | Jovanmandic

iStock | Jovanmandic

This school year, parents and nurses are on the lookout for the rare enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) as more than the usual amount of cases have been reported in children around the country.

According to the CDC, EV-D68 was first identified in 1962 and “is one of many non-polio enteroviruses.” The strain is known to cause “mild to severe respiratory illness,” though the full spectrum of the illness is not well-defined since it has not been studied as much as other enteroviruses because of its relative rareness.

CNN reports the latest cases seem to be exacerbating breathing problems in children with asthma, and that cases have been confirmed in six states so far: Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. However, more than 10 states have reported higher than usual numbers of respiratory cases in children since school started–something school nurses are likely to be noticing on the job.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has seen “a double to quadruple increase in the number of children with respiratory infections” since the school year began, according to CNN. However, since tests for viral infections do not differentiate between rhinovirus and other enteroviruses, the exact number of cases is difficult to track.

While many cases are mild and can be treated at home, the CDC says that some will need to be hospitalized for the illness. Treatment and prevention measures for most of the mild cases are the same as those used for common colds.

Have you seen cases of the enterovirus in patients at your workplace? School nurses, are respiratory cases in the kiddos at your school on the rise this year?

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