Rare Virus Surfaces In U.S., Spreads To Children In 14 States
September 18, 2014 9:22am PST
Enterovirus 68 had surfaced in the United States and has already landed children from 14 different states in the hospital. The virus is a severe respiratory illness. One child reported to a nurse that he felt as though he had an elephant sitting on his chest.
There have been 130 lab-confirmed cases of enterovirus 68 thus far, in 14 different states. Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have all seen cases of the virus. At this time Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Utah have patients whom they suspect to be infected.
This map shows 12 of the 14 states where enterovirus 68 has placed children in the hospital.
So far, enterovirus 68 has not caused any deaths, but it has placed children on life support, meaning that the possibility of a child dying from the virus in the future is cause for concern. Top-notch medical care and facilities are likely the reason that enterovirus 68 has not claimed any lives. If the outbreak had occurred in a third world country, the outcome could have been much worse.
Since the recent outbreak of enterovirus 68, hospitals have been flooded with concerned parents and children who are worried they may have contracted the rare virus. The Children’s hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been averaging a combined total of around 300 children transferred to inpatient care each day for the past week.
This sort of panic is just a small taste of the widespread chaos we would see if Ebola were to hit the U.S.
13-year-old Will Cornejo recovers at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver.
No adult cases of enterovirus 68 have been reported so far, which could be due to the fact that the virus targets more fragile immune systems and lungs, like those of children with asthma. If the virus is not contained, however, it could mutate and become stronger, leading to an exponential increase in the number of patients affected, as well as adult cases of the virus. The same concerns of dangerous mutation of the Ebola virus are currently causing mounting fears among health officials at the CDC and WHO.
It is uncertain at this time exactly where this outbreak of enterovirus 68 originated, although some have speculated that it was caused by the recent influx of illegal immigrants to the U.S. These illegals are largely unvaccinated and have received minimal medical attention throughout their lives. Those who have seen doctors, did so under conditions which were by no means comparable to U.S. standards. Thus, many of these illegals are crossing the border carrying dangerous diseases which will be spread to Americans. This outbreak of enterovirus 68 could be an example of such.
9-year-old Jayden Broadway sits up in his hospital bed as he coughs.
The Daily Mail outlined the Red Cross’ tips for preventing the spread of enterovirus 68:
1. Avoid sharing objects such as utensils, cups, and bottles.
2. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands afterwards. If tissue-less, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper arm, not into your hands.
3. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs from entering your body.
4. Proper and consistent hand washing is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of flu.
Teach kids by example by showing them proper hand washing technique:
Wet hands with water and apply an amount of soap recommended by the manufacturer to hands.
Rub hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces of the hands and giving added attention to fingernails and surfaces where jewelry is worn.
Rinse hands with water.
Dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
Use towel to turn off faucet.
Are you worried that your child may contract enterovirus 68? Sound off in the comments section!
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