HEALTH ADVISORY: CDC Warns Of Fast-Spreading Enterovirus Afflicting Children

UPDATE Apr 25, 2014: There are now 58 confirmed cases of the measles in California 

A rarely seen virus is sending children to the hospital with severe respiratory infections, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning doctors and parents to be on the alert.

The CDC has confirmed that enterovirus D68 has sickened at least 19 children in Kansas City, Mo., and 11 in Chicago. Different strains of enterovirus affect 15 million people every year, but most people have mild symptoms. However, this strain (D68) is rarer and so far has been limited to upper respiratory illness, which can cause difficulty breathing and wheezing, even in children who do not have asthma.

Just like cold or flu, the illness will run its course in about a week. Parents should seek medical help if cold symptoms start to involve wheezing or difficulty breathing. Parents of children with asthma should make extra-sure that the children are taking medications and their asthma is well controlled. There’s no specific treatment and many patients will recover on their own. However, those with asthma may need additional care to stabilize their breathing patterns.

Taking basic sanitary precautions, including washing hands often with soap and water, avoiding sharing items with sick people, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces will help reduce the spread of the virus.

Additionally, if your child has asthma and is experiencing symptoms such as a cough that does not go away, waking up at night coughing, chest congestion, or difficulty breathing and wheezing, please call QHC at (323) 635-1140 to make an appointment with your healthcare provider today! If you need help in controlling your child’s asthma, allergies or eczema, please ask your QHC healthcare provider to refer you to our Pediatric Asthma Program.