First case of virus D68 confirmed in Arkansas

KATV Channel 7 Little Rock, AR The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has received confirmation through laboratory testing conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the first case of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) causing respiratory illness in Arkansas. The patient is a child located in the northern part of the state, according to the ADH. The state also has about a dozen additional samples being tested by the Centers for Disease Control.

The virus has infected hundreds of children in Missouri, Ohio and at least 20 other states. The virus has been manifesting in the child's respiratory systems.
"We're having a major outbreak of the disease right now. The main reason it's getting a lot of attention is the impact it's had on children's hospitals has been dramatic. We're seeing large numbers of children being admitted to the hospital and lots of kids going to the ICU in places like Ohio and Missouri. Seen a little bit of a bump in the number of cases in our children's wards in Arkansas, but not dramatic," Wheeler said.

“The current strain of EV-D68 is causing more illness than expected, which is drawing the attention of health care providers. However, the enterovirus season typically dissipates about now,” said Dr. Gary Wheeler, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at ADH. “If a child has a cold or cough, parents and caregivers should keep a close watch to make sure the child’s cold or cough runs its normal course. If the child starts wheezing or having asthma-like symptoms, they should be taken to their doctor as soon as possible.”

Arkansas Children's Hospital says they have been watching other states battle the virus from a distance and have been preparing the hospital in case of an outbreak in Arkansas.
Since children are the most susceptible to contracting EV-D68, ADH is encouraging parents to take simple steps to help prevent the spread such as encouraging children to:
Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact and sharing cups and utensils with people who are sick.
Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as toys, doorknobs and light switches, especially if someone is sick.

Those who believe they have a respiratory illness should stay at home, drink plenty of fluids and treat the symptoms.
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January 18, 2018, 5:43 am
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