HEALTH DEPT. PRESS RELEASE
Commissioner of Health Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, FAAFP, today announced the first confirmed case of Enterovirus (EV-D68) in Rockland County. The case, confirmed by the New York State Department of Health, involves a child with a history of asthma, who was treated and released from Westchester Medical Center. Due to privacy concerns, no other information will be made available about the child.
“We are not surprised to find EV-D68 causing some illness in Rockland County, given the apparent widespread nature of this virus in other parts of the country,” said Dr. Ruppert. “We have been watching for the arrival of this Enterovirus and will continue to monitor for it closely. Residents with asthma, especially children, are encouraged to be vigilant in taking their controlling medications.”
EV-D68 causes respiratory illness and the virus spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of EV-D68 include fever (although fever may not be present), runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches. Some children have more serious illness with breathing difficulty and wheezing, particularly children with a history of asthma.
There are many types of Enteroviruses and EV-D68 is one strain that has not been commonly reported previously. Most people infected with an Enterovirus experience no or few symptoms. There is no vaccine to prevent EV-D68 infections and the treatment is supportive. Those with a history of asthma or wheezing should take any prescribed medications as instructed and closely follow their asthma action plan.
The New York State Health Department has said that Enterovirus EV-D68 is present statewide. In response, the Rockland County Department of Health is sharing preventive advice to help families stay healthy during flu season and beyond:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
• Avoid touching 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
Parents should seek medical attention immediately for children who are having any breathing difficulty (wheezing, difficulty speaking or eating, belly pulling in with breaths, blueness around the lips), particularly if the child suffers from asthma. There is no specific treatment for persons with EV-D68, nor is there a vaccine to prevent it. However, everyone six months of age and older should receive influenza vaccine every year to protect themselves against that important cause of respiratory disease.
For more information about EV-D68, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.