Conn. Reports 8 'Highly Suspected' Enterovirus D68 Cases

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Two hospitals in different parts of Connecticut are reporting clusters of severe respiratory illness among young children that could be due to enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, the Connecticut Department of Public Health said.

"We are working with the hospitals to facilitate testing for EV-D68 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," said the statement from Dr. Matthew L. Cartter, state epidemiologist and director of infectious diseases. "When test results are available from the CDC, DPH will share a summary of that information with health care professionals and the public." 

The CDC reports that from mid-August to Sept. 12, a total of 97 people in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri have been confirmed to have the respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. The CDC is working with state health departments to track the spread of EV-D68. 

On Sept. 12, the New York state Department of Health announced that EV-D68 had been confirmed in more than a dozen children in New York.

"The Connecticut DPH has asked clinicians to consider laboratory testing of respiratory specimens for enteroviruses when the cause of infection in severely ill patients is unclear and to report clusters of severe respiratory illnesses to their local public health agency and to DPH," Cartter said. 

Severely ill patients confirmed to have EV-D68 experience difficulty breathing and hypoxemia, as well as some with wheezing.

Most patients were not feverish, even during their hospital stays, the CDC said of the cases in states beyond Connecticut. 

About two-thirds of the cases had a previous medical history of asthma or wheezing, but some patients had no known underlying respiratory illness.

Patients ranged in age from 6 weeks through 16 years. Most patients were admitted to pediatric intensive care units.

Of the 30 patients who were positive for EV-D68, two required mechanical ventilation, and six required bilevel positive airway pressure ventilation.

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