October 02, 2014


City News Service



A child treated at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was diagnosed with the respiratory illness known as enterovirus D68, authorities confirmed on October 1, one day after the area's first case of the virus was confirmed in Long Beach. Dr. Grace Aldrovandi, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, said that hospital's patient was admitted in August and has since recovered. She declined to specify the child's gender or exact age, saying only the patient was between 5 and 10 years old.


“The child had what appeared to be a normal cold, upper respiratory tract infection, fever, runny nose, and then after almost a week of having those symptoms, woke up and was unable to move a limb,” Aldrovandi said.


She said doctors anticipated the child will make a full recovery.


“Millions of children in this country will be and have been infected with enteroviruses,” she said. “We don’t understand why sometimes in some children, enteroviruses attack the nervous system. We’re not 100 percent sure that this entero 68 is causing this, but there does seem to be a strong association, and as you know there are other unfortunate children in the United States who have had neurological problem, and particularly limb paralysis or weaknesses.”


On Tuesday September 30, officials at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach confirmed that they treated a child with enterovirus D68 for about a week. The child is recovering at home. David Michalik, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the hospital, told CBS2 the child required intensive care after becoming critically ill.


Los Angeles County and Long Beach have separate health departments and report cases separately. State health officials said the virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches contaminated surfaces. Symptoms can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body and muscle aches. Some children can develop breathing difficulty and wheezing.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 472 cases of EV-D68 in 41 states, as of September 30. Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the Los Angeles County's interim health officer, said enteroviruses are common among children, and most cases do not lead to serious illnesses.


“Acute limb weakness and other neurological symptoms are uncommon with any enterovirus, including EV-D68,” he said. “The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is through simple hand-washing and other basic hygiene. We recommend that all residents, especially children, wash their hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching their face with their hands and stay home when sick.”

Category: Health