Eighteen patients have visited Monmouth County medical facilities with symptoms similar to the respiratory illness known as enterovirus, a viral infection that has spread to at least 22 states, including New Jersey

emergency room
(Braden Gunem, Thinkstock)

New Jersey had its first case of the potentially dangerous respiratory illness known as enterovirus D68 last week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a New Jersey child, who was treated at a Philadelphia hospital, tested positively for the rare form of the illness.

Children are most at risk of EV-D68, perhaps due to a weaker immune system and less exposure to illnesses compared to adults. New Jersey health officials have been in contact with child care centers and schools, informing them to be on the lookout for spikes in illnesses, and to report any suspected outbreaks to their local health department.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said symptoms include cough, runny nose, sneezing and muscle aches and possibly a low-grade fever.

Monmouth County Public Health Coordinator Michael A. Meddis told APP.com that "the 18 children who went to hospitals in Monmouth County have symptoms compatible with D68, but not confirmed as D68." He also said some of the young patients may come from counties other than Monmouth. Specimens from the patients who have symptoms resembling D68 have been submitted to the CDC for testing.
According to APP.com, "Meddis said some hospitals will test for enteroviruses and others will test for enteroviruses plus rhinoviruses. But those tests don't pinpoint enterovirus."

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