Vigilance urged in N.J. schools in wake of enterovirus death

Following the death of 4-year-old Eli Waller

Following the death of 4-year-old Eli Waller

New Jersey health officials aren’t sure whether the enterovirus outbreak in the state has peaked.

 

 

But the Yardville Elementary school attended by the 4-year-old Hamilton boy who died from the severe respiratory illness has been sanitized as a precaution.

And state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan is urging officials at schools throughout the state to be vigilant.

“School districts have their own approaches and their own guidance as far as how they handle procedures related to cleaning their schools as well as identifying ill individuals, so that’s very school dependent,” she said Monday.

With no vaccine or specific antiviral medication for enterovirus, the illness is treated the same way as other respiratory ailments seen in children this time of year.

Tan advises schools to encourage children to wash their hands frequently to avoid spreading the virus.

Eight other confirmed enterovirus patients in New Jersey are recovering after being released from hospitals. Six cases have been reported in Pennsylvania and two in Delaware.

It’s not clear how Eli Waller, who became sick at home, contracted the virus.

His father, Andy, issued a statement Monday thanking the community in Hamilton for their support and help. He and his wife are establishing The First Day of School Foundation, which will support special education students.

The virus has sickened more than 500 people in 43 states and Washington, D.C. — almost all of them children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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