Fourteen case of Enterovirus D68 have been confirmed in Erie County. The Erie County Health Department announced Monday that they're still testing others for the illness. The respiratory virus has been present in region since August.
The virus displays symptoms similar to a cold, but more mild than the flu. Anyone can get the respiratory illness, but children are more susceptible, because they’re constantly passing germs.
Women & Children’s Hospital chief medical officer Dr. Stephen Turkovich says the majority of children being treated at the hospital also have a history of asthma. He says patients admitted to the hospital recover within 1 to 2 days on average and the most severe cases recover within 3 to 4 days.
“Treat a cold just as you would any other cold, fluids, rest. Most of these children will have a runny nose, a wet sounding cough that will last for a while. Very few of them actually develop fevers. So, I think that’s probably why a lot of kids aren’t staying home from school, because they have mild cold symptoms. You can treat it just like anything else, chicken soup, and some tender love and care, and they’ll be just fine,” said Turkovich.
Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says in order to prevent the respiratory illness stay away from sick people and wash your hands as much as possible. She says the Health Department has been in contact with area schools on how to prevent the virus.
“We've given them information about keeping the classroom clean, using hand sanitizer, soap and water. But, the schools so far have not reported an overwhelming number of absences. So, I think most parents and medical professionals are doing the right things,” said Burstein.
There are no reported deaths due to the virus in the United States.