Healthy Children Parents are reporting an increase in cases of the illness that sickened 29,000 children last year

Healthy Children Healthy World Parents are reporting an increase in cases of the illness that sickened 29,000 children last year

Parents are reporting an increase in cases of the illness that sickened 29,000 children last year, a pediatric group announced Monday.

A nationwide survey found that of the 462 known cases of the gastrointestinal illness, known as enterovirus D68, between Jan. 1 and April 8, 64 of the cases were children age 6 and younger, up from 61 cases in the previous week.

According to the report by the Childhood Allergy and Asthma Network, 29 confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 were diagnosed in Maryland from Jan. 1 to April 8. In the same period last year, none of the cases were diagnosed in Maryland.

What is enterovirus D68? Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is a respiratory virus that causes respiratory and coughing episodes. A respiratory illness that occurs in late fall or winter, it can be difficult to diagnose until laboratory tests are run. Because the virus can survive on contaminated surfaces for long periods, it is frequently not reported until it is too late.

CDC data show more than 294,000 cases were reported in the United States last year — most were in children but the illness can also strike adults. The illness first became widespread in California in 1998, and has since infected more than 600,000 people and killed at least 164.

In the April 8-14 survey, 355 children were diagnosed with enterovirus D68 infections. The Maryland cases were scattered across Baltimore, Fulton, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

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