With hundreds of children infected by enterovirus infections in the Midwest, health officials fear the virus could spread across the country. Theodore Maniatis, MD, medical director of NSLIJ-Staten Island University Hospital, thinks it’s unlikely.
“This is a person-to-person disease through something we call the “fecal/oral route”, which basically means dirty hands, touching objects and food,” said Dr. Maniatis. “Most of the time, these infections are very mild and short lived, causing inflammation; then there are cases -- like in Missouri -- that can land your child in the intensive care unit.”
Dr. Maniatis stresses that if your child is experiencing respiratory distress, wheezing, uncontrollably coughing or they’re having difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
According to the Centers for Disease Control there are 10-15 million varying enterovirus cases reported annually across the United States.
The best way to combat this virus: public awareness. “Keep your child at home when they’re sick. That schools and facilities like them -- day cares and after school centers --promote proper hand washing and clean things like door knob and toys,” said Maniatis.
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