Respiratory virus hospitalizing children across the nation

Respiratory virus hospitalizing children across the nation

What may seem like a common cold at first, is turning into much worse for youth in 10 states across the country. A rare respiratory virus, thought by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be human enterovirus 68, has led thousands to seek treatment in hospitals from Colorado to North Carolina.

According to the Denver Post, 86 children have been admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado for severe respiratory illness in just the past three weeks with hundreds having been through the emergency department for assessment. Most of those seen in Denver were age four or younger with the hardest hit being asthmatics. Hospitals in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Missouri and Oklahoma have reported similar cases to the CDC.

“Enteroviruses are common in the summer and peak in early fall (September); normally, they present as just a bad summer cold,” says Dr. Andrea Kane, pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington, Ill. “This year’s strain seems to be affecting some children more severely with respiratory distress.”

“The thing to remember about viral upper respiratory infections is to watch for breathing difficulty,” says Dr. Aaron Traeger, pediatrician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill. “Most people have some runny nose and congestion from this type of virus. Only a small number have been having breathing difficulty or concerns and those are the ones that need to be seen. Remember, there is no special treatment or test out there for this specific virus, the treatment is supportive and respiratory care.”

Since no vaccine is available, Dr. Kane emphasizes that good hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the disease. She also recommends for parents and kids alike to:

  • Clean/disinfect surfaces objects and surfaces
  • Avoid shaking hands, kissing and sharing drinks
  • Stay home from school or work if you or your child is feeling unwell.

In efforts to contain the illness, some hospitals like Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver and Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill. have enacted more restrictive visitor policies until further notice.

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  1. Seems like there’s a new health threat every year. Thanks for this story…lots of good information.

  2. This is great information. My son has asthma and the year has been good to him thus far (Knock on wood.) I’m hope this virus dies down soon…!

About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.