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NEW YORK (PIX11) — Over a dozen New York children have been diagnosed with enterovirus D68 (EV-68), a severe respiratory illness that led to the hospitalization of hundreds of children in the Midwest.

New York State Department of Health officials warn that the illness can be especially serious for children with asthma.

EV-D68 cases have been confirmed in the Capital Region and Central New York.

“It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses” said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Because there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus, our best defense is to prevent it by practicing proper hygiene.”

Symptoms of the illness include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body aches.

Enteroviruses are spread by having close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

This particular strain of enterovirus is uncommon, so the full range of symptoms is not yet known.

In Kansas City alone, 450 children with treated for EV-D68, and officials suspect cases in Colorado, Illinois and Ohio may be part of a regional outbreak.

To protect yourself and from the virus, health officials advise:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
• Use the same precautions you would use to prevent the spread of influenza.

EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1968, according to the Health Department. The illness has been rare in the United States.

Fore more information on EV-D68, click here.


Mystery illness hospitalizes Midwest children