Local hospitals restrict visitors to stop spread of Enterovirus D68

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Several Chicago-area hospitals are taking precautions to stop a respiratory virus from spreading.

Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge and Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood are not allowing children under 18 years old to visit patients.

Adults with cold-like symptoms are not allowed to visit patients until further notice.

Doctors are concerned about Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68.

There are no confirmed cases at those hospitals but they do suspect dozens of patients may have the virus.
Enterovirus 68 has sickened children in 12 states, mainly in the Midwest. Many of those patients have been placed in intensive care units.

The CDC confirms  that 11 samples it tested from children who had been hospitalized in Chicago tested positive for EV-D68.

Nineteen of the 22 specimens sent to the CDC from Kansas City also showed signs of the virus, meaning there is likely a regional outbreak.

Enteroviruses, which can cause a variety of symptoms, aren’t unusual.

If you’ve ever had a bad summer cold, it was likely caused by an enterovirus. The CDC estimates there are 10 to 15 million viral infections each year in the United States. The season often hits its peak in September.

“It’s important to remember that these infections are very common,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general for the U.S. Public Health Service and the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

But this particular type of enterovirus — EV-D68 — is less common.  And health officials are concerned by the number of hospitalizations it has caused this year.

“It’s worse in terms of scope of critically ill children who require intensive care. I would call it unprecedented. I’ve practiced for 30 years in pediatrics, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, division director for infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

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