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First case of Enterovirus D68 hits Arkansas | Health

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First case of Enterovirus D68 hits Arkansas
Health, News
First case of Enterovirus D68 hits Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – The Arkansas Department of Health reported its first case of Enterovirus D68 on Monday. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 160 cases in 22 states since mid-August.

"We have a number of suspected cases actually through the northern part of Arkansas and this is the first case that we've gotten the sample results back on that this virus is also in Arkansas, as we suspected," said Dr. Gary Wheeler, Medical Director for Infectious Disease Branch, Arkansas Department of Health.

The virus mimics the common cold with symptoms like sniffling, congestion, and fever. Enterovirus D68 also comes with shortness of breath, fast breathing, and severe coughing.

"Most of the cases we have identified are in young children," Wheeler said. "Typically under the age of five, children who have asthma or other chronic lung conditions."

In August, the CDC found samples of the virus in Kansas City. It spreads through direct contact and doctors warn there's no shot or vaccine available.

"We don't think there's been any deaths from Enterovirus D68," said Craig Gilliam, Director of Infection Prevention at Arkansas Children's Hospital. "I think it can cause some problems but the vast majority of kids that get exposed to this virus, they may have a little bit of a runny nose, a little bit of a cough but they are not going to have any consequences of it at all."

Preventative steps like washing your hands and fist bumping instead of shaking are imperative. And both Wheeler and Gilliam agree – doctors should keep their eyes peeled for children who may show symptoms.

"What most physicians in our state are doing are only really looking for this in children who are admitted to the hospital with a respiratory virus syndrome," Dr. Wheeler said.

STORY: 1 case of Enterovirus 68 confirmed in Arkansas

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