NEW HAVEN -- Doctors at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital say Connecticut's first confirmed case of Enterovirus D68 was admitted last week.
"Other hospitals, including us, have sent testing on other children to the CDC to be tested for suspected cases but this is so far the only confirmed case at this time," said Dr. Paul Aronson of Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the child had Enterovirus.
The child, who was initially hospitalized, has improved and been discharged.
"They were admitted to the Children's hospital here at Yale-New Haven for just a very short time period and discharged the next day which speaks to the fact that most children with this disease will have mild or non-severe illness," said Dr. Aronson.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health reports that since this case has been confirmed, as have cases in New York and New Jersey, it is likely that the virus has already spread across the state and that other suspected cases in Connecticut will be confirmed.
The commissioner of the DPH, Dr. Jewel Mullen, is telling parents and health care providers to watch out for the symptoms of the respiratory virus. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body aches. Children with more serious cases have developed difficulty breathing and wheezing.
Children who have asthma are more susceptible to the virus.
"If your child is sick with a cold and having difficulty breathing, or their symptoms are getting worse, then contact your health care provider right away," said Commissioner Mullen. “If your child has asthma, make sure to follow the care plan your health care provider has already outlined.”
Health care professionals recommend washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoiding touching one's face, avoiding sharing cups with those who are sick and frequently disinfecting toys and doorknobs. The virus is spread through close contact with an infected person or by touching surfaces that are contaminated with the virus.
Local health departments are keeping a close watch on increases of respiratory illnesses in hospitals across the state.
Four other Connecticut hospitals are in the process of sending lab specimens from patients with respiratory illnesses to the CDC for testing.
There are other respiratory illness-related viruses circulating in the U.S. at this time of year, so not all clusters of respiratory illnesses are necessarily related to Enterovirus. The number of cases is expected to subside later in the fall.