While it appears Enterovirus 68 cases are declining in the Midwest, where EV 68 was first detected, the numbers are increasing as it fans out affecting the rest of the country.
“My suspicion is we are probably heading into a timeline that we are going to start seeing more and then we’ll start seeing less.”
Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Nicholas Bennett could have up to eight potential cases of EV 68 at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. He says there is no clear answer as to why children are more vulnerable. EV-68 is related to the virus that causes the common cold.
“It maybe that this is a slightly drifted or mutated strain.”
Symptoms can start with coughing, sneezing, runny nose and fever and then can lead to wheezing and trouble breathing especially among those with asthma. With signs of EV 68 in Connecticut, he prescribes a proactive approach.
“If your child is at risk of developing respiratory problems – if they have a history of asthma in particular, make sure you’ve got the medications you need on hand,” said Bennett.
When should you head to the doctor or emergency department?
“In young babies, sign of respiratory distress would be nasal flaring where the nostrils are opening up wide. If the kid is struggling to breathe, they may have retractions which is where the skin is getting sucked in between the ribs and under the ribs and breathing hard and fast,” said Bennett.
Concerned parent Courtney Pullen is on high alert. “I’m just making sure everybody’s hands are clean and keeping everyone safe.” She has three children with asthma, including little Cierra who said, “We get sick a lot.”
Other parents are also keeping a close eye.
Emily DiCostanzo said, “I guess I’m just worried about them getting a cold and not being able to get rid of it.”
The CDC results could come in a few days. Doctors can not treat the virus but do manage the symptoms with asthma medication. Prevention includes washing your hands, it is spread by coughing and sneezing. Also, a sick child should stay home.
The CT Department of Public Health reported, two hospitals in Connecticut have reported potential cases.