Officials from state health departments have confirmed that the Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) respiratory infection that has been the cause of hundreds of sick children in the Western and Midwestern U.S. has come to the Northeast.
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut health officials have announced confirmed cases of EV-D68 infection.
In New York, over a dozen children were infected with the illness and cases were confirmed in Central New York and Capital Region. Specimens from other regions were also received for testing.
Their health officials advised that health care providers and parents should be aware of the symptoms and signs of EV-D68.
"It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses," Dr. Howard Zucker, acting state health commissioner, said in an earlier statement.
Zucker said the best defense against the virus is to practice proper hygiene because no vaccination or specific treatment has been made yet to ward off the virus.
New Jersey, meanwhile, has its first case of the EV-D68 infection confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The case confirmed was from a specimen from a hospital in Philadelphia and then sent to CDC.
The state health department said that the child’s condition has improved and has been discharged from the hospital.
"The New Jersey Department of Health is closely monitoring for increases in respiratory illness in hospitals around the state," New Jersey’s health commissioner Mary O'Dowd said in a statement.
Connecticut’s first confirmed case of the virus was also a child, who was hospitalized but has been discharged after seeing improvement.
"If your child is sick with a cold and having difficulty breathing, or their symptoms are getting worse, then contact your health care provider right away," Commissioner Jewel Mullen of Connecticut’s health department said in a statement.
Mullen added that if the child suffers from asthma, it is important to follow the plan that the health care provider has outlined.
The CDC is said to be working closely with several state health departments to look into the suspected clusters of the infection. CDC and the Department of Health (DOH) have collaborated to investigate the epidemic.
The DOH has partnered with local health departments and providers. It also issued a health advisory with data and health management tips against the EV-D68.
The EV-D68 infection has the following symptoms: cough, fever, sneezing, body or muscle aches, and runny nose. In more extreme cases, patients have breathing difficulties. Reports said that many children with the virus have previously shown signs of wheezing and asthma.
The respiratory virus is being transmitted through a close contact with a person infected, by touching surface or objects contaminated with the virus, or by touching the nose, eyes, and mouth.