Mystery Respiratory Virus Sickening Kids in Colorado
A respiratory illness sweeping through parts of the U.S. has landed in Colorado, sickening hundreds of children, according to local doctors.
According to Mark Pallansch, director of the Division of Viral Diseases at the CDC, similar cases to the ones in Colorado have been cropping up across the U.S. At least 10 states -- Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Georgia -- have reported suspected outbreaks of human enterovirus 68 and requested CDC support.
The disease hasn't been officially identified but officials suspect a rare respiratory virus called human enterovirus 68. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is related to the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.
Dr. Christine Nyquist, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Colorado, said the virus usually ends up appearing similar to a severe cold but can be particularly dangerous for children with asthma because of how it affects the respiratory system.
At Children's Hospital Colorado in Denver, officials say that between Aug. 18 and Sept. 4, doctors saw more than 900 pediatric patients with symptoms of the respiratory virus in the emergency room. Of those who came in, 86 were admitted into the hospital and a handful ended up in the intensive care unit.
At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Dr. Raju Meyappan, a pediatric critical care physician, said he's seen at multiple children end up in the pediatric intensive care unit after being infected with the virus and that children under the age of 5 or those with asthma appear to be most at risk.
The kids are coming in with respiratory symptoms, their asthma is exacerbated," Nyquist said. "Kids with no wheezing are h..........ng wheezing."
Make sure [parents] talk to all their caregivers about what to do if [the child has] an asthma attack and where to go if they need help," Meyappan said. "I think h..........ng a game plan in place helps."
Meyappan said parents of asthmatic children should make sure that their children's inhalers are easily accessible and that there is a treatment plan in place if an asthma attack continues to get worse.