Eight “Highly Suspected” Cases Of Enterovirus 68 In CT
UPDATE: The Connecticut Department of Public Health has gotten reports from two hospitals in different parts of the state to possible cases of EnterovirusD68. DPH has asked health centers to report clusters of respiratory illnesses.
DPH also reports that according to the CDC there have been 97 confirmed cases of EnterovirusD68 across the U.S. since mid-August.
The names of the hospitals are not being released, though as stated below, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has patients that might be infected.
The head of the infectious disease department at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Dr. Nicholas Bennett, tells FOX CT that he's seen eight patients since yesterday who he "highly suspects" have the quick-spreading virus.
New York State Health officials confirmed a dozen cases of EnterovirusD68 on Friday, and Connecticut doctors won't be surprised if the severe respiratory illness hits the state next.
“We're starting to see a few just in the last day or so, where I'm really suspicious that's what's happening,” said Bennett.
He said at least one patient was treated in the Intensive Care Unit at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
“I guess the concern about the virus is how quickly and how severely the kids have been affected with their breathing,” said Bennett.
Doctors say EnterovirusD68 often causes wheezing, and it's especially hard on kids with asthma. It spreads quickly, like the common cold.
The virus first popped up in the Midwest, and is now officially in the Northeast, with 12 cases confirmed in the Capital Region of New York.
CCMC started prepping for cases earlier this week.
“We know that the ER staff have increased staffing levels, mostly in preparation, but some in response to what they've seen in the last day or so. The intensive care unit is on alert,” said Bennett.
CCMC hasn't confirmed its suspected cases through testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but will likely send out samples next week.
In the meantime, Bennett said his patients are recovering.
“The single most encouraging thing from my point of view is how quickly the kids seem to turn around and that there's no complication from this kind of viral infection. We're not seeing bacterial infections, we're not seeing pneumonia. It really just looks like bad asthma this thing is causing,” said Bennett.
He added that enterovirus68 is typically treated with asthma medication.
Bennett doesn’t suggest a hospital visit if symptoms are mild and said a child will likely recover from the illness before test results are returned.