Virus that’s sending hundreds of kids to the hospital now in Pennsylvania

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There have been three confirmed cases of enterovirus in Philadelphia, but some doctors believe more kids may have fallen ill because of it. “Almost certainly there are many more than three cases that we haven’t recognized,” said Pinnacle Health’s infectious disease specialist Dr. John Goldman.

The virus typically affects children with asthma and has already sent more than 900 kids to the hospital in Denver, Colorado. Now that it’s in Philadelphia, GoldmanĀ thinks it’s heading towards central Pennsylvania. “It’s just down the expressway from us and the disease is the type of disease that’s spread easily, like the common cold. There’s no reason that we would expect it to respect state borders, stay within a city,” said Goldman.

That’s why health officials are getting ready. If there were ever to be a serious outbreak they are prepared to set up trailers outside of the ER to treat patients, but that’s only in a worst case scenario.

Currently it’s nowhere near an epidemic in the Commonwealth, but if someone shows up at the hospital with enterovirus, health officials aren’t taking chances. “We would place them in what’s called contact precautions meaning people would have to gown and glove before they went into the room. We’d also place them on droplet precautions meaning they’d wear a mask in the room,” said Goldman. Symptoms of the virus are just like a cold, but if your kid starts wheezing or develops a rash call your doctor immediately.

 

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