Officials with Public Health – Seattle & King County said Friday morning that two children, one from King County and the other from Snohomish County, are the state’s first diagnosed cases of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).
The presence of the respiratory illness in the children was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The children were stable enough to be discharged from the hospital earlier this week, according to a news release sent out by the Snohomish Health District.
No children in Washington or the United States have died of an EV-D68 related illness. The CDC said Friday that the virus is now in 22 states.
“We understand that parents may be feeling anxious after hearing this news,” Dr. Danielle Zerr, Division Chief, Pediatric Infectious Disease at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said in a news release. “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.”
Enteroviruses are very common viruses; there are more than 100 types. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million people get enterovirus infections in the United States each year. Most people infected with enteroviruses have only mild symptoms or none at all, and don’t need to see a medical professional. But some infections can be serious and require medical evaluation. Compared with other enteroviruses, EV-D68 rarely has been reported in the U.S. in the last 40 years, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
Health officials are expected to release more information during a news conference later this morning.
This post will be updated.