A Rare Virus Is Here To Infect Children And Freak Out Parents

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Sick childTime to douse your children in sanitizer and wash their hands with bleach, for a new school year is upon us. And with the new school year comes a rare respiratory illness that has stuck over 1000 kids in ten states across the country.

Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky have all contacted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for assistance in dealing with the outbreak. In Kansas City, Missouri, there have been over 300 reported cases of respiratory illness and 15% of those children ended up in intensive care.

The virus, which doctors have identified as enterovirus EV-D68, begins like any other cold: runny nose, fever, cough. But in some cases it can develop into a potentially deadly illness that interferes with the patient’s breathing. Because of that, children with asthma and allergies are particularly vulnerable. In one case in Denver, a 13-year-old asthmatic patient ended up in the ER just one day after showing symptoms of a cold. He had so much trouble breathing that he turned blue and had to be intubated in the ER.

According to ABC News:

The patient was one of multiple asthmatic pediatric patients who ended up sedated in the intensive care unit with a breathing tube…Patients who needed breathing tubes spent between four to seven days sedated and intubated as they recovered.

Is there any crap that has not been scared out of you yet?

The strange thing about this virus is that while respiratory illnesses are common when kids go back to school because they are totally gross and do things like lick tables in the cafeteria, those illnesses don’t usually send this many kids to the hospital. Doctors are also confused about why EV-D68, a rare virus first discovered in the late 60’s (and for which there is no vaccine, by the way), is showing up now.

So what do we do? Oh my God, what do we do?! Well, even if your child contracts this particular virus, it will most likely present itself as just another cold and run its course. What you want to look out for, according to reports, is wheezing. If your child has a cold and starts wheezing, get thee to the hospital swiftly. If you have a child with asthma or allergies, be particularly cautious and make sure they have the medication with them at all times. Also, it’s important to remember those flu season basics: wash those grubby little hands, teach your kids to cough and sneeze into their sleeves and possibly yours, and keep them home in front of Nick Jr when they’re sick.

And in the words of ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Doom — sorry, Dr. Richard Besser, “It is only ten states now, but it’s going to be across the country. So if your state doesn’t have it now, watch for it, it’s coming.”

I am going to wash my children all the time forever.

(photo: Kzenon / Shutterstock)