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CDC confirms two cases of Enterovirus D-68 at Seattle Children’s Hospital

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SEATTLE — Two children have tested positive for Enterovirus D-68, Seattle Children’s Hospital announced Friday morning.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the virus in two children, but said three other children tested negative.

Hospital officials said both kids have pre-existing health conditions that made their symptoms worse. However, they were stable enough to be released from the hospital earlier this week.

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Of the three children who tested negative, two have been released from the hospital and another has died, officials said.

“We understand that parents may be feeling anxious after hearing this news,” said Dr. Danielle Zerr, Division Chief, Pediatric Infectious Disease at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Parents should watch their children closely for difficulty breathing and wheezing, especially in kids with asthma. If your child does not have these symptoms, then you do not need to seek hospital care. If your child is exhibiting these symptoms, take them to the emergency room as soon as possible. If your child is in severe respiratory distress, call 911.”

Enterovirus D68 is the contagious virus that has sickened thousands of children across the country. Typically, the virus does not require hospitalization and is generally mild, much like the common cold. People who do not have severe illness do not need to seek medical evaluation or testing for EV-D68.

Officials said no one in Washington or the U.S. has died of an EV-D68 related illness.

Enteroviruses are very common viruses with over 100 types, officials said, but the EV-D68 type has previously been uncommon in the U.S.

There is no vaccine for enterovirus infections. To decrease the risk for enterovirus infections:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds (alcohol hand gel is not as good as hand washing for enteroviruses)
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid contact with ill people
  • Do not go to day care, school or work while ill
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
  • Children and adults with asthma should be sure to have their asthma symptoms under control and see a health care provider if they develop a respiratory infection and their asthma worsens

The Washington State Department of Health has more information explaining symptoms and how to prevent the spread EV-D68.

Seattle Children's Hospital planned to release more information at a news conference at 10:00 a.m.

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