Santa Clara confirms four new enterovirus cases

Four new cases of the enterovirus-D68, a respiratory illness, have been diagnosed in Santa Clara County, bringing the number of cases to five since Oct. 9, a county health spokeswoman said Thursday.

All five of the cases involved children under 18 years old, the group that is most at risk to becoming ill from the virus, with wheezing and difficulty breathing in severe cases, Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said.

The four children who recently caught the virus were admitted to area hospitals but have since been released in good condition, Alexiou said.

The first case of the virus in the county was confirmed on Oct. 9, also affecting a juvenile who left the hospital after the virus ran its course, she said.

The enterovirus-D68, also known at EV-D68, is being reported all over the United States, other parts of the Bay Area and now “is circulating in our community,” Alexiou said.

Adults can contract the virus as well, with symptoms similar to the common cold such as fever, runny nose, coughing and body aches, but the symptoms can hit young people harder, she said:

“Most of us (adults) would have it and be fine. …¬†We’ll have mild symptoms.”

Children showing signs of the virus should be medically checked before their symptoms become worse, especially children with asthma, she said.

There is no cure for the virus and the only treatment is for its symptoms, according to Alexiou. All five of the cases of enterovirus-D68 were confirmed through lab testing, she said.

The California Department of Public Health had previously confirmed enterovirus-D68 in a total of 32 patients as of Friday, including 11 in the Bay Area. However testing of specimens takes 1-2 weeks, and healthcare providers and laboratories are not required to report the virus to state officials.