Several hundred US children are being treated for Enterovirus 68, also known as EV-D68 is a respiratory illness that can cause children to become paralyzed. Outbreaks of the virus have been detected in most of the fifty states and cases are increasing rapidly.
Although it’s received very little mainstream media coverage, the current outbreak of EV-D68 is common to El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, three countries where a bulk of the illegal immigrant children come from. These unaccompanied illegal immigrant children have been allowed into the nation’s school systems without medical screenings, and without required vaccinations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from mid-August to September 18, 2014, a total of 153 people from 18 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68, which has forced dozens of children to be hospitalized.
“There will definitely be more. It’s just a matter of time. This will spread across the entire country,” Dr. Pia Pannaraj, an infectious diseases specialist at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told KTLA.
Enteroviruses are a group of viruses made up of more than 100 different varieties of strains, and only a handful affect humans. EV-D68 is one of them.
The disease is of particular concern for children – especially those with respiratory problems, like asthma.
Enterovirus symptoms are similar to the common cold, however, the variant now reported in 18 US states has caused wheezing and difficulty in breathing.
CDC, state health officials and doctors announced last week they were investigating nine cases of children with muscles weakness or paralysis linked to the virus at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. Most had the respiratory illness but then came down with an unspecified “acute neurological illness.” Four of the eight tested positive for the enterovirus, while eight of the nine had up-to-date polio vaccinations.
“The severity is what triggered our concern,” said Mark Pallansch, director of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases.
There is no drug yet for the current strain of the virus, so treatment is focused on helping patients to breathe.
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