Doctors caution parents not to panic over rare virus

Doctors caution parents not to panic over rare virus

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The rare strain of enterovirus is known as D68. The virus has affected school-age children, particularly those with asthma. However, some doctors have cautioned parents not to panic.They say this is sort of the virus of the moment. Just because a child may be coughing or sneezing, it doesn't necessarily mean they have this particular virus.

Enterovirus 68 is very similar to other respiratory illnesses that are affecting children. Doctors say it has the usual symptoms, but can include fever, congestion, and difficulty breathing.

Our Lady of the Lake, in Baton Rouge, has confirmed they have treated two patients with the virus.

There have been no known deaths.

Doctors say there is no treatment for the illness and only children who are admitted into the hospital have been tested.

A local pediatric specialist says it is unusual to see the outbreak the virus has caused.

"Kids and adolescents don't have the immunity that older folks have. That's maybe why we're seeing it in younger kids as opposed to adults," said Dr. Michael Bolton, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at OLOL. He went on to say the virus in not new. It's been around for decades.

"It's very transmissable. Can get it very easily, person to person. So this is no different. It's not a terribly common manifestation of this virus, so its unusual to have an outbreak like this," said Bolton.

He says it's possible after the virus makes its rounds, we may not see it again for another decade or two as children will develop immunity to it.

Children who may have the virus will have symptoms similar to a cold, but parents should pay attention to whether the child has difficulty breathing. That is a true sign of this illness.

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