The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services confirmed six cases of enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, in the state.
Officials say the six patients were all children ages ten and under. Their names and locations have not been released in order to protect their identity.
"DHHS' Division of Public Health has been monitoring this situation very closely," said Dr. Zack Moore, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health. "The confirmed cases were located in different parts of the state, so it is important for everyone to take necessary actions to protect yourself from EV-D68 and other respiratory viruses. There are no vaccines and no specific treatments for EV-D68, so prevention is the best option." Enteroviruses are viruses that can cause different symptoms including runny nose, coughing, mouth sores, fever and body aches. Officials say some patients also suffer from wheezing and difficulty breathing. "EV-D68 is one of many enteroviruses that can cause illness," said Dr. Moore. "Enterovirus infections are not generally life-threatening but can sometimes be severe, especially for children with asthma or other underlying respiratory conditions. If you or your child experience cold-like symptoms and difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider right away." Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
Health officials recommend that people take the following actions to protect themselves from infection:
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1. Wash hands vigorously and often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers. 2. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.3. Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.4. Frequently disinfect touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
If you suffer from asthma officials say you should take your medication as prescribed, as you are at higher risk for respiratory illnesses.
The virus has been seen in 27 other states since August.