HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J.- A young boy died sometime between the night of Wednesday, September 24, and the following morning.
The sweet, active, blonde-haired 4 year old named Eli had gone to sleep feeling fine, perhaps dreaming of playing with his sisters or having a fun day at preschool the next day.
He didn’t make it through the night.
It wasn’t until Friday night that authorities figured out why: enterovirus D68
What are the symptoms of EV-D68 infection?
EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.
- Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
- Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing. See EV-D68 in the U.S., 2014 for details about infections occurring this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 500 cases have been identified in 42 U.S. states. But that’s likely an underestimation because many cases may go unreported.
“The virus is out in the community, there is nothing we can do about that,” health officials said. “The way to prevent it is from your own personal hygiene and be vigilant with your own children and yourself.”
Scientists say that it is likely that EV-D68 has changed or mutated to become more transmissible, but this is still just a theory. Enteroviruses change frequently over time.
A 2013 National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published in Virology Journal determined that a high percentage of patients in Latin America with influenza-like illness actually suffered from an enterovirus infection.
A CDC official told said they didn’t know whether this outbreak of enterovirus D68 was traceable to the border camps for illegal immigrants.
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