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Friday, October 3, 2014

Enterovirus D-68 Case Confirmed in San Francisco

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Health officials today confirmed that a child in San Francisco contracted Enterovirus D-68, the respiratory virus that's sickening children across the country. 

Rachael Kagan, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, says the child was admitted to an out-of-county hospital for two days in mid-September and discharged in good condition.

“Enterovirus D-68 usually causes mild symptoms similar to a cold or a flu,” said Dr. Cora Hoover, director of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “Occasionally, it can cause severe respiratory symptoms, especially in children with a history of asthma.”

Enterovirus D-68 was discovered in the 1960s, and is one of about 100 enterovirus types. Enterovirus D-68 is not frequently diagnosed, but has caused periodic outbreaks in the United States over the years, according to health officials.

There is no vaccine for Enterovirus D-68 and no specific treatment. However, there are some treatments available to assist affected children with their breathing problems that comes along with the virus. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 538 people in 43 states and the District of Columbia have been treated for a respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 between mid-August to Oct, 3. Almost all the confirmed cases this year have been among children, many who have asthma or a history of wheezing.  There have been some cases where children have experienced a mysterious paralysis, yet health officials have not yet confirmed whether it's related to the virus. 

The first cases were reported in California on Sept. 18. As of Oct. 1, there were 14 cases in the state, including the one in San Francisco. In one of those cases, the patient had "acute flaccid paralysis," the California Department of Health reports

Here's what you need to know about preventing the transmission of EV-D68:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty or unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze, preferably with your elbow.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such doorknobs

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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