Officials from the Utah Department of Health and Primary Children’s Hospital will be available to answer questions from the media at 2:00 p.m. at the education center at the Eccles Primary Children’s Outpatient Building, located directly across the street from Primary Children’s Hospital.
“In addition to the 12 positive samples, Primary Children’s had 37 rhino/enterovirus positive admissions in the past week, and 10 of those were admitted to the Pediatriac ICU,” says Dr. Andrew Pavia, the hospital’s division chief of pediatric infectious diseases. “The rate of increase may be slowing but we don’t think we have passed the peak of the outbreak.”
Health care professionals in the U.S. are not required to report known or suspected cases of EV-D68 infection to health department because it is not a reportable disease in the United States. And, the CDC does not have a surveillance system that specifically collects information on EV-D68 infections. Utah health officials continue to work with the CDC, hospitals, and the health care community to closely monitor the situation.
Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Since there is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections, Dr. Allyn Nakashima, State Epidemiologist, Utah Department of Health (UDOH) says, “It’s important to remember that the best way to prevent spread of this severe respiratory illness is by practicing proper hygiene.” There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections other than management of symptoms, and no specific anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose.
Take steps to protect yourself and others from respiratory infections such as:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
• Use the same precautions you would use to prevent the spread of influenza.
These prevention steps are especially important for individuals or persons with family members who are infants, or who have chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems. Symptoms of enterovirus illness can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body aches.
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The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public's health through preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to affordable, quality health care, and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Primary Children’s is a 289-bed full-service pediatric hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the only children’s hospital in the Intermountain West equipped and staffed to treat the most seriously ill and injured children and infants, and is verified as a pediatric Trauma I Center. It is owned by Intermountain Healthcare, a not-for-profit hospital system, and is affiliated with the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Rebecca Ward, UDOH
Bonnie Midget, Primary Children’s Hospital