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(Above image: A non-polio enterovirus as seen under a microscope)
The U.S. death toll from the mysterious Enterovirus D-68, which primarily strikes young children, has reached twelve. But as the number of livest lost increases, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that most states over the last five weeks have indicated “reduced EV-D68-like illness activity.”
The latest CDC update on the current outbreak of the polio-like Enterovirus D-68 states that it has now been detected “in specimens from twelve patients who died and had samples submitted for testing.” That’s one more death than was disclosed in last week’s update. The CDC account does not provide information as to where the patients died and does not disclose his/her names, ages or other details.
From mid-August to November 12, 2014, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 1,116 people in 47 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. That’s the same count CDC gave the previous week, indicating a slowdown in spread of the virus.
The respiratory illness can cause paralysis. The outbreak is likely more widespread than reported since some states are not lab testing all respiratory illnesses to confirm. Most cases are said to be mild.
Almost all the confirmed cases this year of EV-D68 infection have been among children. Many of the children had asthma or a history of wheezing.–CDC
Occasionally, the illness becomes deadly without apparent warning.
The CDC says that it has received “substantially more specimens for enterovirus lab testing than usual this year, due to the large outbreak of EV-D68 and related hospitalizations.”