There is a rare virus spreading like wildfire across the United States and very few people are aware of it. It is a respiratory virus called Human Enterovirus 68 and it has sickened scores of children across the country. The virus seems to start as a cold but can quickly lead to respiratory failure. Already, hospital beds in Colorado saw 900 patients suffering with this illness in less than three weeks. The city of Chicago has had 11 confirmed cases and growing according to the CDC.
According to health experts, this virus will soon become a nationwide problem, especially with the back to school season in full swing. So far, at least 10 states have been affected. Those states are Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Georgia. The affected states have requested aid from the Centers for Disease Control to combat the spread of the illness. Currently, doctors have stated they are not sure how Human Enterovirus 68 is being spread and this is a normal time for illness to spread among school children. Doctors warned that children with asthma are particularly at risk for infection as well as children under the age of 5. There is no vaccine for this virus.
Here are tips the CDC recommends to prevent spread of virus:
- Washing hands
- Avoiding those who are sick
- Covering the nose and mouth during sneezes or coughs
- Be aware of cold like symptoms. The virus causes wheezing.
- Do not allow the sharing of toys outside the home.