October 7, 2014
VIRGINIA (WAVY/AP) — A virus that has been causing severe respiratory illness across the country is present in the Eastern Region of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed Friday.
“We have received notification of lab confirmation of EV-D68 in the Eastern Region. This information confirms what we already knew — that EV-D68 is present in Virginia,” VDH representative Larry Hill told WAVY.com.
The lab results also confirmed enterovirus 68 in the Central and Northern regions of Virginia, according to the VDH, which has said it is closely monitoring the illness’s increased nationwide activity.
The enterovirus germ is not new or uncommon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 10 million enterovirus infections occur in the U.S. every year. Enterovirus 68, while a less common strain of enterovirus, has still been around since 1962. Most people who catch the illness experience only mild symptoms, like a runny nose and low-grade fever.
But this year, the virus has gotten more attention because it has been linked to hundreds of severe illnesses. Beginning last month, hospitals in Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago have received a flood of children with trouble breathing.
The virus has sickened more than 500 people in 43 states and Washington, D.C. — almost all of them children.
The VDH, the CDC and hospitals across the state are working together to monitor the respiratory illness in Virginia, and any clusters that may pop up. In the meantime, citizens can be protect themselves