Contra Costa confirms enterovirus case

Contra Costa Health Services officials have confirmed that a resident under 18 years old is the county’s first case of the contagious enterovirus 68.

The child, whose age was not disclosed, was initially hospitalized for the illness but has since recovered, county health officials said this afternoon. The U.S. is experiencing an outbreak of enterovirus 68, with 664 confirmed cases in 45 states and the District of Columbia since mid-August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Several of those cases have been reported in Bay Area counties. Enterovirus 68 typically causes mild symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sneezing and body aches, although more severe symptoms can include wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Children and teens are more likely to fall ill from the virus and children with asthma may suffer more serious symptoms, according to county health officials. Almost all of the confirmed cases of enterovirus 68 in the U.S. over the past two months have been children and most have asthma or a history of wheezing, according to the CDC.

There is no vaccine or any specific treatment other than management of symptoms, health officials said.

Erika Jenssen, communicable disease programs chief for Contra Costa Health Services’ Public Health Division, said:

“This virus is circulating, and it is important for people to take some simple precautions to keep themselves healthy. …¬†Washing hands with soap and water, making sure children stay home from school if they are sick and avoiding close contact with sick people are all ways we can reduce our chances of spreading.”

County health officials are distributing information about the virus to local schools and have worked closely with the state health department, neighboring public health agencies and medical providers to monitor the spread of enterovirus 68 and to give residents the information they need to prevent the disease and recognize its symptoms.

More information about the virus can be found at http://cchealth.org/enterovirus.