The New York State Department of Health says a respiratory illness called Enterovirus D68 has sickened over a dozen children in New York, having already infected children in states like Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and potentially Connecticut.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EV D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness—mild symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body and muscle aches, though symptoms can be much worse in children with asthma or a history of wheezing. The CDC has confirmed 97 cases across the country since last month, and a number of children have been hospitalized because of the virus.
The state Health Department says New Yorkers should try to prevent catching the virus, which has no specific treatment, by practicing proper hygiene, as outlined on the CDC's website. "It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses," New York acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said yesterday.
Hospital officials in Connecticut say they are treating a few suspected cases of the virus there, too, though those cases have not been confirmed. Though most people recover without treatment, officials say parents should contact a physician if their child exhibits more serious symptoms. "This is the beginning of an epidemic and everyone has to be mindful of that," Dr. Juan Salazar of Connecticut Children's Hospital told NBC News.