This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website, the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website and the Daily Times‘ website.
It was the first public announcement in Chester County of a student coming down with the virus that is characterized by coughing, a runny nose, sore throat and in some cases, a fever.
The local case was confirmed Wednesday evening by Dave Listman, communications coordinator for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, who said the district would have more information about the situation on Thursday.
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The Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, is a non-polio enterovirus first identified in California in 1962. The respiratory illness has rarely been seen in the United States until this year, when hospitals in the Midwest began reporting more cases than usual.
Children, from 6 weeks up to 16-years-old, are most likely to get infected with the disease. Those with asthma or who have a history of wheezing are at a higher risk for hospitalization than others, according to a health alert released by the Chester County Health Department on Sept. 11.
From mid-August until Sept. 17, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said there have been a total of 140 people in 16 states, including Pennsylvania, confirmed to have EV-D68.
The virus is spread from the infected person through coughs, sneezes or contaminating a surface by touching it.
At this time, there is no specific treatment for anyone with EV-D68, but some mild symptoms can be relieved through over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. If a person has a severe respiratory illness, they may need to be hospitalized, according to the CDC.
To avoid the virus, the CDC urges people to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid hugging, kissing and sharing cups or eating utensils with someone who is sick; and frequently disinfect any touched surfaces, including toys.
Because the symptoms of EV-D68 is similar to other viruses, the CDC recommends contacting your doctor if you are having trouble breathing or if symptoms get worse.