Rare enterovirus confirmed in NJ child; 4 others being checked in Bergen County
SEPTEMBER 17, 2014, 12:57 PM LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2014, 12:42 AM
BY MARY JO LAYTON AND ANDREW WYRICH
The rare respiratory illness that is sending some children to the hospital in a dozen states has reached New Jersey, with federal health experts confirming a case from the Garden State that was reported from a Philadelphia hospital, officials said Wednesday.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the New Jersey child is recovering from the illness caused by enterovirus D68, according to the state Health Department.
Meanwhile, The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood has admitted four children who tested positive for enterovirus, a common class of virus that produces some 10 million to 15 million cases annually in the U.S. each year, with varying symptoms and degrees of severity. But tests haven’t confirmed whether it’s the more rare enterovirus D68, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Related: Kids with asthma or wheezing face most danger from respiratory virus
About a dozen specimens from counties statewide were sent to the CDC on Wednesday to determine if they are the same virus, known as EV-D68, which can cause fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body and muscle aches, state officials said. In the most serious cases, it causes severe breathing problems. The EV-D68 virus is not new but it seems to be a more virulent form than in previous years, doctors have said.
Officials would not identify where the child treated in Philadelphia lives nor would they say from which counties samples were sent.
In Bergen County, Emerson School Superintendent Brian Gatens sent an email Tuesday night to more than 1,000 parents reporting that a Memorial Elementary School girl was being treated for symptoms that were associated with the virus. The school has students in pre-K to second grade.
The girl was being treated at a local hospital as if she has the virus and was expected to be released Wednesday, school officials said. It has not been determined if the specimen samples are positive for the virus.
As with any illness that causes widespread concern, there are far more suspected cases of EV-D68 than confirmed. From mid-August to Sept. 16, 130 people in 12 states have been confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68, the CDC reported.
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