Health Department Advises No Confirmed Cases of EV-D68 in County Urges Continued Awareness and Precautions by Residents
Earlier this evening, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) was advised of a report that a student in the Bethel Park School District has enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). That report was in error, as no cases have been confirmed in Western Pennsylvania by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The Department has been working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since the virus was first reported in the United States,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “While our Department has worked with local hospitals to forward samples to the CDC for testing, we have not been notified at this time of any confirmed cases.”
An EV-D68 infection has similar symptoms to a common cold including cough, runny nose, body aches, and possibly a fever. In some children, the illness can progress to something more serious where the child has wheezing, difficulty breathing, and difficulty getting enough oxygen into their lungs. EV-D68 is a relatively rare type of enterovirus in the United States.
Medical providers are not required to report suspected cases of the virus to state or county public health authorities, but officials have been working closely together to share information and help prevent further illness. There are no specific treatments or vaccines to prevent EV-D68 infections; the virus must run its course. Health care providers seeing unusual clusters of respiratory disease or who would like to submit specimens for testing should contact the Allegheny County Health Department.
The Health Department encourages residents to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses and other viruses by:
· Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
· Avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoiding close contact and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are sick.
· Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as toys, doorknobs and light switches, especially if someone is sick.
· Staying home when sick.
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