Hospitals have heightened awareness of enterovirus D68

Posted at 4:36 PM, Sep 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-18 16:36:56-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich — As the medical community across the country continues to treat children with severe respiratory illnesses, health care professionals in West Michigan say they’re responding to the outbreak with the utmost care, and  some medical centers and hospitals are taking greater precautions.

This is in response to the outbreak and threat of enterovirus D68, a disease that, according to the CDC, has impacted more than 150 people in the across 18 states.

Infants, children, teenagers, and people with asthma or lung problems are at the greatest risk.

Symptoms can include wheezing, shortness of breath, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, body aches, and a fever.

However, Dr. David Davenport of Borgess Health says a third of the kids who have this virus don’t have a fever, which, as many parents and doctors know, is often a clear-cut indication a child is sick.

When it comes to how medical centers and hospitals are handling these respiratory illnesses, some are taking greater precautions, which can include isolating patients.

Medical professionals will also wear a gown, gloves, mask, even eye protection.

To decrease the chances of spreading the illness, the CDC recommends washing hands and avoiding hugging and kissing people who are sick.

The CDC has not confirmed any cases of enterovirus D68 in Michigan, but doctors expect the outbreak to get much larger.