An unusual virus that’s spreading across the country has hospitalized more than 1,000 children with severe respiratory problems. While it has yet to hit in Connecticut, local doctors are monitoring its progress and expect it to arrive here soon.
At Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Dr. Nicholas Bennett, an expert in infectious diseases, has been in contact with doctors in cities and states where the outbreak has already occurred.
“Their main concern is how quickly the kids seem to have gotten sick and how many of them have gotten sick," said Bennett. "About 15 percent of the kids that they’ve been taking care of in the hospital have been in the intensive care unit.”
The virus is believed to be Enterovirus D-68, a cousin of the common cold that can cause breathing problems like wheezing in children. It seems to most severely affect children with asthma, doctors say.
Enterovirus is rarely seen in the United States and so far doctors in 12 states, including Georgia and North Carolina, have reached out the Centers for Disease Control for help.
Bennett and other physicians in Connecticut are closely monitoring the spread of the virus to be prepared for when it hits.
“I’m worried about what our winter’s going to look like," Bennett said. "If this virus persists and comes across the country, we’re going to be dealing with flu, and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus], and this Enterovirus now, so it could be pretty busy here.”
Symptoms typically last about a week and most children recover without lasting problems, according to doctors.
At this point, no deaths have been linked to the virus.