Unidentified Respiratory Virus Sending Children to Hospitals in Midwest

Unidentified Respiratory Virus Sending Children to Hospitals in Midwest

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a report that states an unknown respiratory virus has been sending hundreds of children to hospitals in Missouri and possibly all through the Midwest and maybe even beyond. The abnormally high number of hospitalizations being described might “just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases,” stated Dr. Mark Pallansch, who is a virologist and also works as a director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Viral Diseases.

Even though the virus has not been officially identified, officials believe that the illness is a rare virus known as human enterovirus 68. The CDC explained that the virus is related to the rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold.

So far nearly a dozen states have been in contact with the CDC for help in inspecting the enterovirus. They are North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Various enteroviruses, which cause symptoms that are very similar to an intense cold, are not unusual, and are actually quite common. When a person has a bad summer cold, most often what he or she is suffering from is an enterovirus. The season for such illnesses usually hits its peak around September.

However, what is so unusual about the situation now is that there have been many children put into the hospital. The virus has been sending over 25 children per day to a Missouri hospital, where around 15 percent of the youngsters were put into the intensive care unit, stated medical officials.

In what could be a sign of a possible regional outbreak, Ohio, Colorado, and Illinois have been reporting high volumes of cases with comparable symptoms. They are waiting test results, said CDC officials. In Missouri, around 450 children were treated at a hospital, and about 60 of them needed to be placed in intensive care.

Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, who works as a hospital director, stated that the virus appears to be worse in terms of severely ill children who need critical care. She said she would call the entire happening as unprecedented. She explained that she had been in practice for 30 years in pediatrics, and she has never seen anything quite like this. The doctor added that they have had to assemble other medical providers, such as doctors and nurses because this is big.

Staff members at various hospitals stated that they started to notice an initial spike around Aug. 15. Dr. Jackson explained that the illness may have taken off right after the school year began around the area. There is no vaccine for the virus. This particular type of enterovirus, known as EV-D68, is considered uncommon, but it is not new. It was first acknowledged back in the 1960’s, but there were fewer than 100 reported cases since that time. However, it has been possible that the relatively low sum of reports might be due to the fact that EV-D68 was hard to recognize.

EV-D68 was seen in 2013 in the United States and this year in several parts of the world. Over the past few years, clusters have shown up in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and numerous countries including Japan, the Netherlands and the Philippines. The symptoms usually comprise of rash, sneezing, coughing, fever, body pains and muscles aches. Dr. Jackson stated that doctors in several other Midwestern states have reported cases with the same symptoms..

In order to help reduce the chance of infection, individuals are instructed to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after they change diapers. People also need to try avoiding touching their eyes, nose and/or mouth with any unwashed hands. It is also advised to avoid any kissing, hugging or sharing eating utensils or drinking cups with people who are sick. Individuals should disinfect repeatedly touched surfaces such as doorknobs and toys. It is also stated that people need to stay home if they are feeling sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a medical report which states a respiratory virus, thought to be human enterovirus 68, has been sending hundreds of children to hospitals in Missouri and possibly all throughout the Midwest or beyond.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

The N.Y. Daily News

ABC News

CNN

Your Thoughts?