Houston Area Pediatric Specialists

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Enterovirus Triggering Respiratory Problems in Children

Enterovirus is one of many viruses capable of triggering airway problems in children similar to asthma.  As such, children with asthma are especially high risk for exacerbations.  A child with poorly controlled asthma would be especially high risk.  At this time, there does not appear to be an easy way to test for the virus. Dr Susarla

What is Enterovirus 68, the mysterious illness that may be sickening hundreds of children?

Health officials in at least 10 states have reported hundreds of cases of a respiratory illness that has sent scores of children to emergency rooms and, in some cases, even to intensive care units.
The culprit is believed to be Enterovirus 68 (also known as EVD-68 or Eentrovirus D68), a fairly rare viral infection that can cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and low blood oxygen levels (also known as hypoxemia). In some cases, however, the symptoms can be severe — particularly for children who already suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems.
Jennifer Cornejo of Colorado told Denver's ABC affiliate that her 13-year-old son, William, had cold symptoms that developed overnight into a life-threatening illness. "He was in really bad shape," she told the station. "He came really close to death. He was unconscious at our house and white as a ghost with blue lips — he just passed out."
Here is how William Cornejo described it: "My head started hurting. And after that my lungs started closing up. It felt different."
Until recently, Enterovirus 68 was only thought to cause sporadic infections, but there have been reports of more widespread outbreaks in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona between 2008 and 2010.
Only Missouri and Illinois have confirmed cases of EV-D68, but cases with similar symptoms have been reported in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma as well.
Because of how rare Enterovirus 68 is, scientists are still learning about it. But here is what you should know now:
Why is it called Enterovirus 68?
Enterovirus is the name used to describe a group of more than 100 of the most common viruses that affect humans and other mammals. Most people might interact with an enterovirus by way of the common cold, which can be caused by enteroviruses as well as rhinoviruses.

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