Tag Archive | respiratory illness

Enterovirus D68 targets a child in Arizona, USA

EV-D68 Virus Alert

Arizona public-health officials said Wednesday that lab tests have confirmed the state’s first case of a viral strain that triggers potentially severe respiratory illness in children.
State health officials said the child who tested positive for enterovirus D68 is now healthy, but provided no other details such as age, gender or where in Arizona the child lives.
Arizona Department of Health Services officials also would not comment on the status of pending tests for a Peoria first-grader and a Phoenix infant who both died after recent bouts with reported respiratory illness.
Enterovirus is a common virus with more than 100 strains that typically circulate during the summer and fall. But the D68 strain of the virus, tied to more severe respiratory illness, has been circulating nationwide since mid-August, with 941 confirmed cases.
Department of Health Services officials said that testing has been completed for 27 samples, and just one has been confirmed for the D68 strain.
Six samples have tested positive for rhinovirus, a common cold virus, and another six have tested positive for enterovirus and rhinovirus. Some less-precise tests administered at area hospitals do not distinguish between enterovirus and rhinovirus. Another 14 samples did not have either virus.
In addition, 17 other samples are pending at Arizona’s laboratory or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s labs, said Laura Oxley, spokeswoman for the Department of Health Services.
Arizona’s state lab does not have the sensitivity to test for the D68 strain, but Arizona is working to obtain that capability, Oxley said. Until then, only the CDC labs can confirm whether a sample has the D68 strain.
Five-month-old Lancen Kendall of Phoenix died Oct. 10 after becoming severely sick with a respiratory illness. His family set him down for a nap and soon noticed he wasn’t breathing. He was rushed by ambulance to Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, where he died five days later, according to his family.
The hospital’s preliminary test showed that the boy had enterovirus and rhinovirus, which are both common-cold viruses. Lancen’s mother, Kathleen Kendall, said she was told by state health officials Wednesday evening that Lancen’s test has not been completed yet.
“They told us our test is still pending. We still don’t know whether it has been confirmed,” Kendall said.
Peoria first-grader John Lucas “Luke” Smith died last week after he became sick with respiratory illness. The day after school officials informed parents of the boy’s death, 80 percent of children at Vistancia Elementary School did not show up for classes. No test results have been made public for Smith.
The CDC said that it began using a newer, faster test that will allow it to work more quickly through pending samples. The federal agency also said that it expects the number of cases will begin to decline by late fall, and it is assessing preliminary reports that the number of new infections is trending down.

Mysterious, deadly virus lands in Oregon, USA

EV-D68 Virus Alert

Oregon has joined 46 other states in dealing with a mysterious and potentially fatal virus, the Oregon Health Authority announced Thursday. Four cases of Enterovirus D68 — three in Multnomah County — have been found in Oregon. All four are children and all four have recently been in hospital intensive care units.
The highly contagious virus has hit 678 people, most children, since mid-August, most in the Midwest, and is believed to have caused five deaths. According to Dr. Richard Leman, a public health physician with the Oregon Health Authority, Enterovirus D68 is attaining notoriety this year because previously testing for the specific virus was limited.
“We fully expect we have had cases in the past but we haven’t been able to test for it,” Leman says.
Enterovirus D68 causes breathing problems and is especially dangerous for children younger than 5 and children with asthma or other underlying lung conditions. Children and teens are believed to be especially susceptible because they do not yet have immunity from previous exposures to the collection of Enteroviruses.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Enterovirus D68 is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses. The virus was first identified in California in 1962. It can cause mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms ranging from fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and muscle aches to difficulty breathing.
Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor if they are having difficulty breathing or if their symptoms are getting worse, according to the CDC. There is no EV-D68 vaccine.
There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68, according to the CDC. For mild respiratory illness, over-the-counter medications for pain and fever are recommended. Some people with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized. There are no antiviral medications available for people who become infected with EV-D68.
CDC recommended safety measures, include:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.

Respiratory virus kills 4 in Rhode Island, USA

EV-D68 Virus Alert

Four people who were infected with a virus causing severe respiratory illness across the country have died, but what role the virus played in the deaths is unclear, health officials said Wednesday.
A 10-year-old Rhode Island girl died last week after suffering both a bacterial infection and infection from enterovirus 68, Rhode Island health officials said. The virus is behind a spike in harsh respiratory illnesses in children since early August.
The virus was also found in three other patients who died in September, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC declined to release any other details about those deaths.
It’s not clear what role the virus may have played in the four deaths, officials from Rhode Island and the CDC say.
The Rhode Island child’s death was the result of a bacterial infection, Staphylococcus aureus, that hit the girl in tandem with the virus, Rhode Island officials said in a statement.
They called it “a very rare combination,” and stressed that most people who catch the virus experience little more than a runny nose and low-grade fever.
The child was in good health before she developed severe breathing problems and her parents called 911, said Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. She was taken by ambulance to a Providence hospital, where she died.
“Very quickly after they got to the hospital, things became dire,” Fine said at a news conference.
This enterovirus germ is not new. It was first identified in 1962 and has caused clusters of illness before. Because it’s not routinely tested for, it may have spread widely in previous years without being identified in people who just seemed to have a cold.
This year, the virus has gotten more attention because it has been linked to hundreds of severe illnesses. Beginning last month, hospitals in Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago have received a flood of children with trouble breathing. Some needed oxygen or more extreme care such as a breathing machine. Many, but not all, had asthma before the infection.
Health officials say they have not detected a recent mutation or other change in the virus that would cause it to become more dangerous.
The government says enterovirus 68 has sickened at least 500 people in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Almost all have been children.
Health officials are also investigating whether the virus played a role in a cluster of 10 Denver-area children who have suffered muscle weakness and paralysis.

New Cases Of Deadly Virus (MERS-CoV) Emerge In Middle East
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
Four more cases of a possibly fatal respiratory virus have been confirmed in Oman and Saudi Arabia, according to the World Health Organization.

Three people in Eastern Saudi Arabia contracted the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and one of the patients has died, the WHO said. They ranged from 49 to 83 years old and all three had underlying medical conditions. The WHO is investigating what exposure might have caused their infections.

The viral respiratory illness was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and since spread to at least four countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The WHO says it has confirmed the first case of the virus in Oman, where a 68-year-old man from Al Dahkliya region became ill October 26 and was hospitalized two days later.

Since September of last year the WHO has confirmed 149 cases of MERS-CoV and 63 people have died from the illness.

No cases have been identified in the U.S., according to the CDC, and it’s believed the virus has spread through close contact with ill people.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea and — in severe cases — renal failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome with shock.

The WHO is asking member countries carefully review any case of severe acute respiratory infections.