12 Delaware kids hospitalized with unidentified virus

Health officials aren’t sure if the mystery virus is the same one that’s sickened over 1,000 people nationwide.

Testing is now underway to determine if the 12 hospitalized children have the illness caused by Human Enterovirus 68, or EV-D68. The Delaware Division of Public Health expects test results to return from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within the next 7 to 10 days. 

“While the test results will be helpful, it is important to stop the spread of this illness, whether or not it is EV-D68,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of DPH. “Viruses that cause respiratory illness are easily spread and likely shared from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.”

She reminds Delawareans to be vigilant about hand washing and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched.

As of Thursday, there have been 82 cases that have been confirmed by the CDC in six states. Other cases have been confirmed by individual state health departments, but those cases are not included in the CDC tally.

According to the CDC, EV-D68 can cause mild symptoms like fever, runny nose and coughing, but it can also present more serious symptoms like wheezing and even difficulty breathing. These symptoms can be worse for people with an underlying condition such as asthma.

The CDC says there is no specific treatment for those who have the virus, and there is no antiviral medication currently available to treat the infected.

The CDC is currently working to monitor and investigate the outbreak around the country.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.