CHOP: 4 patients tested positive for Enterovirus D68

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Four children in the Philadelphia area have tested positive for enterovirus D68, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Four children in the Philadelphia area have tested positive for enterovirus D68, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

While it is the first cluster of EV-D68 confirmed in Pennsylvania, officials say this is not the first time it has been seen in region.

"This is a virus that circulates. It has circulated we know at least several times in the past," Dr. Susan Coffin, Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said.

Dr. Coffin says EV-D68 is a type of virus more commonly found in infants, children, and teenagers this time of year.

She says it's garnered so much attention in the news because of the incredible surge in patients in the Midwest.

So far, the Centers for Disease Control says the virus has been confirmed across 12 states. As many as 130 cases have been reported.

But Dr. Coffin says while we now have four confirmed cases here, doctors have not seen a similar surge in patients as in the Midwest.

"Our respiratory viral activity has been pretty much the same as it has been in the past fall seasons, and so the proportion of tests that are positive for respiratory viruses is pretty much the same as it in past seasons," Coffin said.

Coffin says the symptoms are pretty much what you would expect in the common cold.

Children with asthma are at greater risk at having difficulty breathing if they contract the virus.

There are precautions:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces
  • Stay home when feeling sick
  • Some school districts like Tredyffrin/Easttown have been sending alerts to parents about the virus and what they should do.

    Spread of the virus has been of some concern for parents we spoke with

    "I guess a lot of it comes down to hygiene, personal hygiene, make sure people wash their hands and clean their hands and if you do have colds, don't spread them around," Simon Helliwell of Penn Valley, Pa. said.

    Doctors say EV-D68 is usually seen between the months of July and October.

    The Pennsylvania Department of Health says parents should be ever vigilant and aware of the signs and symptoms of EV-D68. Don't assume it's just a cold. Consult your doctor just in case.