Enterovirus Shows Up In NY As School Year Starts

A later start for the school year may be why a severe respiratory virus affecting children in nearly two dozen states took a while before showing up here, says a New York pediatrician.

“Schools in the Midwest tend to start a week or two before Labor Day, and most of the schools in the New York metropolitan area start just after Labor Day,” said Lorry Rubin, MD, chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease for Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

“Once you get large numbers of children congregating indoors, that’s an easy way for infections to spread.”

The virus, known as Enterovirus D68 or EV-D68, causes difficulty breathing, especially for children with asthma, and can lead to hospitalization.

Symptoms can also include a fever, runny nose, body aches, sneezing or coughing. The virus is transmitted through close contact with an infected person or through touching an object or person with the virus.

“This has the potential to cause a large number of cases of illness,” said Dr. Rubin.

To stop the spread of EV-D68, Dr. Rubin suggests following the same type of common sense rules used for preventing the flu and other contagious illnesses. Those rules include:

 •    Washing your hands often with soap and water.
 •    Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
 •    Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
 •    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
 •    Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs.

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