Yonkers student diagnosed with enterovirus D68

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NEW YORK (AP) - An elementary school student in Yonkers has been diagnosed with a sometime-severe respiratory virus affecting hundreds of children around the country, school officials said.

Spokeswoman Jerilynne Fierstein told the Journal News that the district learned over the weekend about a child who attended Cedar Place Elementary School had been diagnosed with enterovirus D68.

She said the school has been sanitized and had no information about the student's condition.

The virus causes mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support.

Health officials said enteroviruses are common, especially during this time of year, but this strain is rarely seen, and this year's outbreak is unusually severe.

A total of 922 people in 46 states have been diagnosed with enterovirus D68, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest numbers.

It’s been blamed for the death of a 4-year-old boy in New Jersey.

The virus primarily affects young children and patients with asthma or underlying breathing problems appear to be hit hardest. However, most recover without lasting problems.

The best ways to prevent the spread of the virus is to:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water;
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact (kissing, touching, sharing eating utensils and shaking hands) with people who are sick;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as door knobs and toys;
  • Stay home when sick and call your healthcare provider;
  • Use good respiratory hygiene, like coughing and sneezing into a tissue or elbow and properly disposing tissues.