Suffolk County Learns of Four EV-D68 Cases
Virus is present statewide
Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services James Tomarken announced today that four cases of enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) in Suffolk County have been confirmed by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Dr. Tomarken asks that residents take precautions in order to contain the spread of the virus.
“These isolated reports indicate that this particular type of enterovirus is currently circulating in Suffolk County as it is throughout New York and the U.S.,” said Dr. Tomarken. “Most people who contract EV-D68 will experience the same symptoms as they would with the common cold, but it has been reported by the CDC that that EV-D68 has caused serious complications in children who have respiratory illness or are immune-compromised. For this reason, we ask residents to take precautions.”
EV-D68 was first identified in 1962. Like other types of enterovirus, EV-D68 is more likely to be found in the summer and fall months. Among the four confirmed cases of EV-D68 in Suffolk County, all were children below the age of nine. All were hospitalized and all have been discharged to home.
At this time, Suffolk County health officials are aware that a few additional cases are being tested for EV-D68 by New York State’s Wadsworth Laboratory located in the Albany area. The Wadsworth laboratory is currently the only laboratory in the state that is able to test for EV-D68. Additionally, several samples have tested negative for EV-D68, according to NYSDOH.
“It is important to keep in mind that many other viruses that cause respiratory illness are circulating at this time of the year. Not all clusters or outbreaks of respiratory illness are due to EV-D68,” said Dr. Shaheda Iftikhar, Director of Public Health and infectious disease specialist. “Because there are no immunizations for preventing EV-D68, we advise residents to protect themselves by following a few simple precautions.”
Residents are advised to:
Ø Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
Ø Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Ø Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
Ø Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
Ø Keep children who are sick home from school.
“Since children with asthma, wheezing, or underlying medical conditions are at risk for more serious complications, parents should faithfully follow their child’s asthma management plan and regimen. In addition, all persons, age 6 months and older, should receive annual flu shots,” said Public Health Nurse and specialist in epidemiology Lauren Barlow.
While neither doctors nor hospitals are required to report individual enterovirus cases to the local county health department, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services is working closely with NYSDOH and local hospitals to monitor the spread of the EV-D68 and look for signs of increase in respiratory-related illnesses.
Additionally, Dr. Tomarken is reminding local school districts to report any unusual rates of absenteeism or respiratory illness to the Department of Health Services. For information and guidance on dealing with EV-D68, school administrators are advised to visit http://www.icontact-archive.com/GRXUtzWNofP65o0beFZiLtZlWzVA5C6R?w=4