Rhode Island child dies from infection linked to Enterovirus EV-D68

Posted at 9:18 AM, Oct 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-02 09:31:49-04

PROVIDENCE, RI  — Health officials in Rhode Island confirmed that a child has died as a result of the Staphylococcus aureus sepsis associated with enteroviral infection or EV-68.

WFSB reports that officials with the Rhode Island Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they have been testing some samples of patients, who have recently died and determined an unidentified child died of Staphylococcus aureus sepsis associated with enteroviral infection or EV-68.

However, CDC officials said it is unclear the role that EV-68 played in the child’s death.

“We are all heartbroken to hear about the death of one of Rhode Island’s children,” said Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

People who contract EV-68 often experience a runny nose and a low-grade fever, health officials said.

“Many of us will have EV-D68. Most of us will have very mild symptoms and all but very few will recover quickly and completely. The vast majority of children exposed to EV-D68 recover completely,” Fine said.

Health officials said that they are continuing to investigate EV-68, however “the reason for the current EV-D68 outbreak is not completely understood.”

In total, 472 people, most of them children, in 41 states have contracted EV-68 including 13 in Connecticut.

The symptoms of EV-D68 are similar to the common cold , but the illness can become more severe and create wheezing and breathing problems. Health officials said children with asthma are more at risk.

There is currently no vaccine for EV-D68.

“While we can’t prevent EV-68 with a vaccine, it’s important for everyone to get the flu shot – it is as bad as or worse than EV-68. And, we do have a shot to prevent the flu. The sooner you get the flu shot, the better,” Fine said.

In the meantime, parents were urged to:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces like toys and doorknobs frequently.
  • Keep children who are sick at home.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes by doing them into the inside of the elbow.
  • Take advantage of flu vaccines.