SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – “It’s estimated that there are about 10 to 15 million cases of Enterovirus every year, all strains,” said Dr. Susan Harp, a pediatrician. Unfortunately, one particular strain, Enterovirus D68, has spread quickly and has infected nearly 200 children.
In Massachusetts, one 8-year-old girl treated at Boston Children’s Hospital is the first and so far, only confirmed Enterovirus patient. According to Dr. Michael Agus of Boston Children’s Hospital, “She was relatively ill at the time but has done terrifically well and is home.”
Kids with Enterovirus develop intense wheezing or uncontrollable coughing, but a simple, healthy habit like washing your hands can significantly reduce your and your family’s risk.
Using waterless hand sanitizer helps, but doctors told 22News washing your hands with soap and water seems to be even more effective at killing this particular strain of Enterovirus.
Also, getting a flu shot is recommended. “If you’re sick with the flu, you’re more likely to get ill with other things as well,” said Dr. Harp. “So we still very strongly recommend it. A flu shot is a great idea, but there is no specific treatment for this particular virus. We just support them with the symptoms.”
Baystate Medical Center in Springfield has treated several dozens of children with a respiratory illness similar to Enterovirus. The Centers for Disease Control is expected to confirm later this week, if any of those children had Enterovirus D68.