Health News

First enterovirus case treated successfully in Florida

POLK COUNTY -- A 10-year-old Polk County County girl is at home recovering after being treated for enterovirus 68, according to the Florida Department of Health.

It's the first confirmed case of the virus in Florida. Enterovirus, or EV-D68, has already to spread to 44 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From mid-August to Tuesday, the CDC and state public health laboratories confirmed 628 people in 44 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by the virus. Almost all confirmed cases have been children, many with asthma or a history of wheezing, the CDC reports.

The virus progresses rapidly with children going from healthy to severely ill in just a day. Health officials say children with EV-D68 often display cold-like symptoms, but the virus can also cause their air passages to swell.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports four people infected with the virus have died, but it's unknown what role the virus played in their deaths.

The virus has no vaccine or antivirals, said Dr. Juan Dumois, clinical practice director for pediatric infectious disease at All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine.

If you believe your child may have contracted EV-D68, medical professionals advise taking them to your primary care physician as soon as possible.

Symptoms include: wheezing, trouble breathing, high fever with ill appearance, thick nasal discharge and dehydration.

Prevention measures include:

Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow;

Avoiding sharing cups and eating utensils;

Refraining from kissing those with symptoms;

Frequently cleaning potentially contaminated surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, tables, toys, etc.) using a bleach solution (one part bleach and nine parts water).