Local News

Six NC children infected with Enterovirus D68

Posted September 22, 2014
Updated September 23, 2014

— The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says it has confirmed the presence of Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, in six children from North Carolina. The specimens that tested positive for EV-D68 were obtained from children ages 10 and under with respiratory illnesses.

DHHS declined to release specific information about the children, including their county of residence or hospital, in order to protect their identities.

Enteroviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of symptoms, including runny nose, coughing, mouth sores, fever and body aches. Some patients also develop wheezing and difficulty breathing.

DHHS says there are more than 100 types of enteroviruses and 10 to 15 million infections across the U.S. each year.

"The confirmed cases were located in different parts of the state, so it is important for everyone to take necessary actions to protect yourself from EV-D68 and other respiratory viruses. There are no vaccines and no specific treatments for EV-D68, so prevention is the best option," Dr. Zack Moore, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health, said in a statement.

"Enterovirus infections are not generally life-threatening but can sometimes be severe, especially for children with asthma or other underlying respiratory conditions," he added. "If you or your child experience cold-like symptoms and difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider right away."

Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. Health officials are recommending that people take the following actions to protect themselves from infection:

  • Wash hands vigorously and often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Frequently disinfect touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Since people with asthma are higher risk for respiratory illnesses, health officials are reminding everyone with asthma to take their medications as prescribed and make sure their asthma is under good control. Health officials are also recommending getting a flu vaccine as soon as possible to help prevent another important cause of respiratory illness that could be going around at the same time.

Since mid-August, EV-D68 has been linked to clusters of respiratory illness in 27 other states, including some illnesses that have been severe.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Linn Lillis Sep 24, 2014
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    I do believe it is fair for the DHHS to not release any names of illness victims-- but no locations!!! What are you kidding me. When did it become ok to not warn people when an epidemic is knocking on their door. I have watched the illness march across the country and have a plan to secure the safety of those I am charged with providing safety for when the time comes. Apparently I am not allowed to know when it has come until it is too late. I think this event should classify the DHHS as participating in child endangerment. And shame on u WRAL for letting the government bully you into helping set a potentially devastating precedent. People should be demanding info by at least county!!!!

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Sep 23, 2014
    user avatar

    Just think... when ebola hits... they wont be telling you where it is effecting people either. WHAT FUN!

  • John McCray Sep 23, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Not that they shouldn't release the information, but some counties don't even have tens of thousands of people living in them.

  • Marta Miller Sep 23, 2014
    user avatar

    A spokesperson for the Greenville health system in Greenville, SC said they have had some admissions with enterovirus, leading to the hospitalization of some children including at least one pediatric ICU patient. Greenville, SC very close to the western part of NC.

  • busyb97 Sep 23, 2014

    Vaccines have nothing to do with EV-D68. There is no vaccine. It's a risk especially for people with other health issues, or things like asthma. A very few have been affected who did not have those other health issues, but most hospitalized had asthma or other things.

    And above all...if you or your family members are sick, STAY HOME! It's not a bad idea to prepare as if you would for an approaching storm. Make sure that you have enough food in your house, supplies, etc, that if your family should get hit, you won't have to go out to the store for essentials. You can stay at home and recuperate.

  • Anita Woody Sep 23, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It's all over the state. Widespread. It's probably in your kids school, your workplace, on the handle of the cart at the gorcery store - it's one strain of the common cold, it just happens that 6 children statewide are having breathing difficulties, there is no need to say where these 6 children are for a cold virus that is all around each of us.

  • Brian Hill Sep 23, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    A flu can present risks to people who have pre-existing medical conditions as well. An ordinary rhinovirus can cause asthma complications.

    The hype isn't just overdone, it has reached levels of complete absurdity. In this very thread, you have people claiming that it has to do with illegal immigrants (which it doesn't) or that it is a government conspiracy (which it isn't).

  • heard-it-all-before Sep 23, 2014

    can't we submit a freedom of information request to DHHS or something? they can't hide what counties it was found in. nobody wants to know where the kids live, and nobody cares what hospital they're being treated at. but for them to withhold what county it is, under the pathetic excuse of "protecting their privacy"-- when each county has tens of thousands of kids-- is patronizing.

  • rushbot Sep 23, 2014

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    the governor and dhhs are giving us the standard treatment with their culture of secrecy...be it fracking chemicals or contagious diseases...the standard treatment is the same as that for raising mushrooms from spores....

  • rushbot Sep 23, 2014

    the dhhs which is under governor mccrory's direct line of authority...i call upon him to require the dhhs to disclose in which counties the virus has been confirmed...as a disabled person with a less than robust immune system, i need to know which areas to avoid as i travel....