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State Advises Parents To Be Aware Of Signs Of Serious Respiratory Virus

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WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The New York State Department of Health is advising parents and health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of  a serious respiratory illness known as enterovirus EV-D68, which has now been confirmed in more than a dozen children in New York State.

EV-D68 is causing cases of severe respiratory illness among children and other individuals, sometimes resulting in hospitalization, especially among children with asthma. 

Cases have been confirmed in the Capital Region and Central New York as well as in Connecticut. Specimens have been received from other regions in New York for testing, the health department said.

Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. 

"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," said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "Because there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus, our best defense is to prevent it by practicing proper hygiene."

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections other than management of symptoms, and no specific anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose, which is why it is important to take steps to protect yourself and others from respiratory infections such as enterovirus, including:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

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.

Use the same precautions you would use to prevent the spread of influenza.

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