Hospitals monitoring outbreak of D68 respiratory virus
Kansas City, MO (CNN) - A virus sickens hundreds of kids and sends dozens of them to the ICU. Ten states have now contacted the CDC for help investigating clusters of Enterovirus. The infections could be part of a regional outbreak in some of those states.
A hospital in Kansas City is treating dozens of children, every day - and every day, Children's Mercy Hospital puts several of those kids in intensive care. To blame is an uncommon Enterovirus, known as D68.
Dr. William Schaffner - Vanderbilt University: "The D68 causes respiratory illnesses, and then among them are illnesses that are more serious that require hospitalization, particularly if they trigger serious asthma attacks."
Dr. Mary Ann Jackson - Children's Mercy Hospital: "The clusters that have been seen in the past and have been reported have been small clusters of maybe, say, 25-30 patients, and we were seeing that many patients in a day."
Read More: What is EV-D68?
Along with nearly 500 cases in Kansas City, Missouri, hundreds of kids in Denver, Colorado, have been also dealing with the same kinds of respiratory symptoms.
Dr. Raju Meyappan - Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children: "Our pediatric floor is full of patients with pretty severe respiratory distress."
The good news is that Enterovirus D68 usually isn't fatal.
Dr. William Schaffner: "Some of them have more severe illness, such as these children who have developed asthma and are hospitalized, but they should all get better."
In terms of severe illness, the CDC says the hospitalizations may just be the tip of the iceberg. Similar symptoms have also been reported in Illinois and in Ohio. Officials are waiting on test results to see if it's the result of a regional outbreak.