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Enterovirus Confirmed In Two Kids Hospitalized In Seattle

Seattle Children's Hospital
Seattle Children's Hospital has admitted more than 20 children with suspected Enterovirus-D68 infections.

Health officials have confirmed that two patients treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital have tested positive for Enterovirus D68. That puts Washington in the company of 18 other states with confirmed cases of the virus, which mainly sickens children and is especially dangerous for kids with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

The two Children’s patients were stabilized and discharged, according to a statement by the hospital. One is from King County and the other from Snohomish.

“Confirmation of this case indicates that EV-D68 is likely circulating in our community and regionally, and we could see additional cases over the coming weeks,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief of communicable disease and epidemiology at Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement.

Duchin said he expects more cases to crop up, but there’s no way to know how many or how severe they would be. He said so far there is no noticeable uptick in hospitalizations elsewhere in the region, besides the cases at Children’s.

As of Thursday Chidlren's had admitted 22 patients with suspected EV-D68 infections, including seven in intensive care. Some of those patients were later released.

Most EV-D68 infections are mild, akin to a “summer cold.” But for people with preexisting conditions like asthma, the infection can cause severe symptoms like coughing and difficulty breathing. There have been no known fatalities from the recent outbreaks in the U.S.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.