Enterovirus 68 Claims First Fatality in Rhode Island


Enterovirus 68 has claimed its first fatality with the death of a child in the state of Rhode Island. The state’s health department released a report on Wednesday. The girl, age 10, was from the city of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and passed away last week. She died due to an extremely uncommon and dangerous combination of viral and bacterial infections that cause very severe illness in both children and also adults, explained the state health department. They stated that the child had died due to Staphylococcus aureus sepsis; which is a condition that occurs when a staph infection gets into the bloodstream, alongside the respiratory illness Enterovirus 68.

The girl had been in the hospital for less than a day when she passed away. Her physicians do not yet know when or how she caught the bacteriological infection, stated Christina Batastini, who works as a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Health. Batastini explained that what the hospital did know is that the child presented with various respiratory issues and had difficulty in breathing. The spokesperson declared that the girl’s parents did the right thing when they brought her to the emergency room directly by an ambulance. However, by the time they arrived, the child’s condition had already become grave.

Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most common microorganisms and is regularly found inside hospitals and various other health care locations. Public health care officials have long been worried about it, particularly in its drug resilient form. Health representatives were cautious to repeat to the public that very few individuals who contracted Enterovirus 68 would end up with any symptoms worse than a low grade fever and runny nose.

Dr. Michael Fine, who works as Director of the Rhode Island State Department of Health, explained that numerous individuals would suffer from EV-D68 but that the majority would only have mild symptoms and most will end up recovering fairly quickly and completely. The health department refused to say which Rhode Island hospital had treated the girl or what city it was located in.

Enterovirus 68 has now been officially confirmed in nearly 475 people, most of them children and in just over 40 states, plus the District of Columbia from the middle of August to the end of September of this year, stated the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). EV-D68 is just one of over 100 non-polio Enteroviruses, a collection of illnesses that are common at this time of year and typically cause around 12 million to 15 million infections in the United States each year.

Dr. Fine stated that the Rhode Island Health Department was heartbroken to hear about the death of the young girl. However, he reminded the public that many people would come down with the illness but would recover completely.

According to the CDC, EV-D68 is considered to be a virus that has symptoms similar to the flu. Even though the symptoms are similar to the flu, they can advance to also include breathing problems and wheezing. Babies, children and teenagers are the ones at highest risk, especially ones who suffer from asthma.  No existing vaccine or antiviral cure are available.

Dr. Fine added that due to the fact that Enterovirus 68 cannot be prevented with any type of vaccine, that makes it even more important for every individual to receive a flu shot. Because there is a shot to prevent the flu, the sooner a person gets it, the better. Maybe that can help prevent any other fatalities from Enterovirus 68.

By Kimberly Ruble


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