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Pierce County Child Confirmed with Enterovirus EV D68

September 30, 2014

Take steps to avoid respiratory illnesses

TACOMA, Wash. – A Pierce County child hospitalized earlier this month with severe asthma symptoms tested positive for the Enterovirus (EV) D68 virus. The child has since recovered. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department received confirmation from Centers for Disease Control late yesterday.

“Respiratory diseases are common,” said Nigel Turner, director of the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Control Division. “With flu season around the corner, it’s important for people to take steps to protect the health of their families and our community.”

According to the CDC, from mid-August to Sept. 29, 2014, a total of 443 people in 40 states and the District of Columbia have been confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Enteroviruses commonly circulate in summer and fall. King County reported its first case on Sept. 19.

EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches. Severe symptoms can include difficulty in breathing. No specific treatment or vaccine is available, but supportive therapy can help in serious cases. Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor if having difficulty breathing or if symptoms worsen.

The virus likely generally spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches surfaces. You can help protect yourself from respiratory illnesses by following these steps:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Since people with asthma are higher risk for respiratory illnesses, they should regularly take medicines and maintain control of their illness, especially during this time. They should also take advantage of influenza vaccine since people with asthma have a difficult time with respiratory illnesses.

Contacts:  Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager, (253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822

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