EV-D68: Canadian hospitals testing for virus after spike in hospital visits
Published Monday, September 15, 2014 1:34PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 15, 2014 9:03PM EDT
Canadian hospitals are testing patients for enterovirus as they are seeing a spike in the number of children admitted for respiratory problems. This comes at the same time as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. confirm nearly 100 cases of the virus
The virus causes symptoms similar to a common cold, but then worsens.
Alberta Health Services and Windsor Regional Health both confirmed to CTV News that they are seeing a high number of children coming in with respiratory problems. However, neither can confirm if it is enterovirus and both are running tests to confirm.
The Windsor hospital admitted 11 pediatric patients with respiratory illnesses over the weekend. One child is in the intensive care unit and one was transferred to another hospital. Some of the children required oxygen therapy because they had difficulty breathing.
As a result the hospital is restricting visitors to the pediatric unit.
The CDC in the U.S. has confirmed 97 patients have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 between mid-August and Sept. 12, 2014. However, because most people don't get tested when arriving at hospital, there may be many more cases. So far cases have been confirmed in seven states mostly in the Midwest. Over the weekend, there were reports the virus had spread to New York.
According to the CDC, enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, was first identified in 1962, but it isn't commonly reported. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and muscle aches. But in some patients – particularly the very young – the cough can become severe, leading to difficulty breathing.
The spread of the virus is unpredictable People are more likely to contract it in the summer and fall making this the middle of enterovirus season.
Children's Hospital Colorado reported seeing more than 900 children in the emergency room with symptoms in three weeks and more than 80 of the children had to be admitted.
There is no vaccine against enteroviruses, but the best way for children and their families to protect themselves are the same as those promoted to stop the spread of colds. To avoid spreading the virus, parents are being reminded to keep their children home if they are sick, wash their hands regularly and cover their mouths when sneezing.