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(Above image: A non-polio enterovirus as seen under a microscope)
A Michigan toddler has become the sixth patient to die of Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68) in the past two months. Madeline Reid was just 21-months old when she passed away at Children’s Hospital of Michigan Friday afternoon. A hospital official says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed her EV-D68 infection after she arrived at the hospital for advanced medical care.
According to the latest update from CDC, at least 691 people in 46 states have been sickened with the respiratory illness that can cause paralysis from mid-August through October 10. 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.
Three recent cases were reported in Orange County, California with the patients ranging in age from newborn to teenaged. A spokeswoman for the county said they were all hospitalized and later released. According to the state’s Department of Public Health, there are four more cases in Los Angeles, two in Riverside (a 12-year old and a teenager), eight in San Diego, one in Long Beach and one in Ventura. Two cases have been reported in San Francisco, including one patient under age 18 who is suffering from paralysis.
Four-year-old Eli Waller of New Jersey died at home on September 25. A health official says Eli was “asymptomatic and fine” when he went to bed but died overnight. He had no known preexisting immune weakness.
A 10-year girl Rhode Island girl infected with EV-D68, Emily Otrando, died less than 24 hours after being rushed to the hospital with breathing problems. Three other patients with EV-D68 also died in September.
Polio, which can cause paralysis and death, is a type of enterovirus. EV-D68 is one of more than a hundred “non-polio” enteroviruses.
As previously reported:
Link to Illegal Immigrant Children?
Enteroviruses commonly circulate in the U.S. during summer and fall. EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962. Over the past thirty years, only small numbers were reported in the U.S.
The CDC hasn’t suggested reasons for the current uptick or its origin. Without that answer, some question whether the disease is being spread by the presence of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children from Central America admitted to the U.S. in the past year.
The origin could be entirely unrelated.
However, a study published in Virology Journal, found EV-D68 among some of the 3,375 young, ill people tested in eight Latin American countries, including the Central American nations of El Salvador and Nicaragua, in 2013.
Though the U.S. government is keeping secret the locations of the illegal immigrant children, there are significant numbers of them in both cities in which the current outbreak was first identified, Kansas City, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois, according to local advocates and press reports.
The EV-D68 outbreak was first recognized after Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri notified CDC on August 19 of an increase in severe respiratory illnesses. Four days later, on August 23, the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital notified CDC of a similar increase.
What is an enterovirus?
An enterovirus is a positive-sense (“plus-strand”) RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus. Other diseases caused by RNA viruses include Ebola, SARS, polio and measles.
According to CDC, there are no available vaccines, antiviral medications or specific treatments for EV-D68. Most cases are mild.
Read about other recent cases of Enterovirus D-68: