Rhode Island Department of Health director Michael Fine, MD told WebMD Health News that the child’s death was unusual. He went on to explain that this is because “many of us will have EV-D68 . . . and all but very few will recover quickly and completely.” The 10-year-old died of sepsis, but had a staph infection in addition to the enterovirus, which Rhode Island officials have cited as “a very rare combination.” It should be noted that many children who have been hospitalized with the virus also had asthma prior to contracting the illness. Nationally, some children have even been paralyzed due to the virus.
The three other deaths from the illness all occurred in September, although the details about these deaths have not been released at this time.
Across the United States, 42 states and the District of Columbia all have confirmed cases of EV-D68. This brings the total to-date up to 500 people, most of which are children. The confirmations of these cases have come from both the respective state public health labs and the CDC.
Enterovirus D68 is a respiratory illness that typically only causes mild symptoms such as a low-grade fever and a runny nose. The illness has been known to show up in clusters across the country, and in more recent years has gotten more attention because of its correlation with severe illnesses, according to a Huffington Post report.
Because most people do contract the illness and recover from it with no complications, there is no need for the public to go into a panic. The best advice for all right now is just to be informed and aware. Those individuals who develop a low-grade fever and runny nose would be well advised to monitor their symptoms and get checked out by a doctor if their condition worsens. Parents may wish to keep a close eye on the symptoms of their sick children. It is children who are among the most susceptible to complications and death related to the virus, particularly those with other health conditions such as asthma.
(Photo courtesy of CJ Sorg)