State officials confirmed Monday that six children in North Carolina have been diagnosed with enterovirus D68, which can cause respiratory illness that ranges from mild to severe.
The virus has now been found in more than 175 people in 28 states since August, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Enteroviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of symptoms, include runny nose, coughing, mouth sores, fever and body aches. Some patients will also develop wheezing and difficulty breathing.
The six North Carolina cases were found in children ages 10 and younger who were being treated for respiratory illness. State officials said they would not disclose where the children live “to protect patient confidentiality.”
State officials are monitoring the virus closely, said Dr. Zack Moore, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health.
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“The confirmed cases were located in different parts of the state, so it is important for everyone to take necessary actions to protect yourself from EV-D68 and other respiratory viruses,” Moore said in a statement. “There are no vaccines and no specific treatments for EV-D68, so prevention is the best option.”
Prevention steps include avoiding close contact with people who are sick, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as toys, and washing hands with soap and water.