Sadly, the rare enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) that has been spreading rapidly among children across the country this school year has claimed its first victim, confirmed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 4-year-old child who died from the virus lived in Hamilton Township, N.J., according to the New York Times.
Hundreds of children around the country have been diagnosed with the enterovirus since August. As you likely know, the virus typically shows symptoms that resemble those of the common cold and is a possible cause of a severe respiratory illness. It was discovered in 1962, but has not been known to spread widely until this year.
The spread of the virus at first seemed isolated primarily in the Midwest, but cases have now been reported in 43 states and at least 594 patients, concerning parents and nurses across the country. The virus is also suspected to be the cause of a severe respiratory illness that has sent many children to the hospital. However, it is not yet known why the virus has been so prevalent this year.
“This is one of many viruses that can cause respiratory illness in children,” said Dr. Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control at the New York City Department of Health. “We do know that this virus tends to cause more severe illness with children who have an underlying condition like asthma. We don’t know why it has become more common this year.”
Nurses, have you seen cases of the enterovirus on the job? Is your workplace prepared to handle the virus as it spreads?