More than 1,000 children hospitalized across U.S. with severe respiratory virus

(Reuters) — More than one thousand children across the United States have been hospitalized with a severe respiratory virus called Enterovirus D68.

“It’s a virus. It’s spread by the respiratory route. Children mostly get involved and it has a propensity for for causing respiratory problems in people with a predisposition. There have been about a 1000 both confirmed and highly suspected cases in 10 or more states. We see outbreaks like this intermittently They are not predictable except they do have a pattern of coming at a certain season of the year which is right where we are right now,” explains

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseasesthrough the National Institutes of Health.

Children’s Hospital Colorado says between August 18 and September 4, its staff treated more than 900 children for the severe respiratory illness in their emergency and urgent care locations throughout Metro Denver. Of these, 86 were admitted into the hospital. Hospital officials say like other hospitals around the country, most of the cases have been Enterovirus D68.

“It actually is unprecedented in the sense that this is very early for us to have so many respiratory illnesses. It happens to be this virus that causes wheezing in kids in particular and it happens every couple of years or so and we are getting the whole middle of the country hit with this virus,” said Dr.Christine Nyquist, Medical Director of Infection Control at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

The virus affects kids of all ages, particularly school aged kids. A Colorado mother described the scary symptoms when her son became sick. “He was unresponsive. He was lying on the couch and couldn’t speak to me, was turning white and had blue lips,” Jennifer Cornejo said, about her 13-year-old son Will.

Doctors say the most serious symptoms to keep an eye out for are wheezing and difficulty breathing, but symptoms can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, mouth blisters, body and muscle aches and rash. The best way to prevent the virus is with good hand hygiene and covering your mouth when you cough. Doctors recommend parents stay alert and call their child’s doctor or 911 if their child is having trouble breathing.