Children's ER, Urgent Care already swamped
Children more at risk than adults
Quickly spreading across U.S., filling hospitals.
UC Health doctor answers questions about respiratory illness EV-D68.
The Buckeye state is one of 10 states to report suspected outbreaks of a rare virus called human Enterovirus 68, or EV-D68, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The disease hasn't been officially identified in every state but
A respiratory illness that has sickened more than a 1,000 children nationwide has made its way to Ohio and the emergency rooms and urgent care facilities in the Cincinnati Children's network are already at full capacity.
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A respiratory illness that has sickened more than a 1,000 children nationwide has made its way to Ohio.
Reports from ABC News and CNN say the Buckeye state is one of more than 10 states to report suspected outbreaks of a rare virus called human Enterovirus 68, or EV-D68, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The disease hasn't been officially identified in every state but officials suspect EV-D68, which is related to the rhinovirus that causes what most know as the common cold, according to the CDC.
Mark Pallansch, the director of the CDC, told ABC News that cases where children are showing similar symptoms are present in Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Georgia.
The Indiana State Department of Health reported Monday the illness may have also reached Indiana.
RELATED: Doctor: Timing of outbreak is odd Serious respiratory illness Enterovirus 68 possibly in Indiana
"Viruses don't tend to respect borders," Dr. Richard Besser, a medical correspondent for ABC News, said. "It is only 10 states now, but it's going to be across the country. So if your state doesn't have it now, watch for it, it's coming."
In East Columbus, Ohio, Nationwide Children's Hospital saw a 20 percent increase in patients with respiratory illnesses last weekend, according to a CNN affiliate station. Dennis Cunningham, a doctor at Nationwide Children's Hospital, told the reporters that patient samples are being tested to determine whether EV-D68 is behind the spike.
There are no confirmed cases in southwest Ohio or Northern Kentucky, but local medical officials are remaining vigilant.
"We're certainly watching the virus, like I said up in Columbus, which is pretty close, and these things tend to make their way around pretty quickly," said Mike Samet with the Hamilton County Public Health Department. "We talk back and forth through the Ohio Department of Health. We see reports, we see what's coming, our epidemiology team is constantly in contact with the health agencies around the region and with CDC."
The illness has come as close as Dayton, Ohio, where Rose Kobus kept her son, Isaiah inside for three days as he recovered.
Kobus said her young son's recovery required breathing treatments every four hours, but he healed just in time to go back to school.
Doctors believe the virus could creep to the Tri-State area. Dr. Derek Wheeler of Children's Hospital told WCPO reporter Evan Millward the team will be prepared, just in case.
The spread of EV-D68 mirrors that of a common cold, so Wheeler said Children's will start testing for it soon, especially with school recently starting a new year.
"We made a lot of phone calls and made sure we were appropriately staffed," Wheeler said. "The surge has been mostly respiratory in nature so a lot of our patients are requiring frequent respiratory treatments."
"This has been unprecedented. This is something we've not experienced before."
Doctors say they are not sure yet how this particular virus spreads, though it tends to pop up late in the summer months. That makes children especially susceptible due to the vulnerability of their immune system and their round-the-clock interaction with other children at school.
"This is a very common time for outbreaks. Kids come back to school, they like to share things, they bring them home to their little brothers and sisters, and enteroviruses tend to occur in the summer," Besser told ABC News. "But this one, this particular Enterovirus 68, is very rare and they have no idea why it showed up this year."
Samet says one of the easiest ways to guard against it is also the most obvious: washing your hands.
"A lot of it comes down to hygiene -- wash your hands, wash your hands often, soap and water, disinfect areas where other people touch," he said. "If somebody's ill, coughing and sneezing around you, best to stay away."
Some of the symptoms often look just like a common cold. Signs include coughing, difficulty breathing and in some cases a rash, possibly accompanied by fever or wheezing. It's the respiratory problems that appear to be the hallmark of EV-D68.
But the enteroviruses aren't usually deadly. They just require symptomatic treatment until the infections subside, according to the CDC.
http://live.wcpo.com/Event/CHAT_LIVE_Enterovirus_68_QA WCPO hosted a chat with local health officials, who answered your questions about the enterovirus. You can read those questions and answers here: