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Contagious respiratory bug hits Capital Region

Contagious respiratory bug hits Capital Region

Cases of enterovirus EV-D68, a serious respiratory illness, have been confirmed in the Capital Regio

Cases of Enterovirus EV-D68, a serious respiratory illness, have been confirmed in the Capital Region by the state Department of Health on Friday.

The Department of Health is advising parents and health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the virus, which has now been confirmed in more than a dozen children statewide.

Symptoms of enterovirus can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body aches. There is currently no specific treatment and no specific anti-viral medications for EV-D68 infections.

Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.

The health department recommends several steps to prevent respiratory infections:

—Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds

—Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

—Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick

—Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

—Use the same precautions you would use to prevent the spread of influenza

EV-D68 is causing cases of severe respiratory illness, especially among children, teenagers and children with asthma, sometimes resulting in hospitalization. Cases have also been confirmed in Central New York.

According to the health department, there are more than 100 types of enteroviruses that cause respiratory illness but EV-D68 is a less common type. The virus has been rarely reported in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with health departments in various states to investigate in areas where the virus has been reported.

The Department of Health has issued a health alert with information about EV-D68 to health care providers statewide. Providers are being urged to report outbreaks of severe respiratory illnesses to local health departments.

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