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CDC Looks for Link Between Virus, Poliolike Symptoms

Girl who died in Rhode Island had enterovirus, though connection is unclear
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2014 7:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – A virus called enterovirus-68, or EV-68, continues to hospitalize kids around the country in unusually high numbers with respiratory trouble, and federal health authorities are trying to figure out whether there's a connection between the virus and cases of kids with paralysis or limb frailty, reports the New York Times. Colorado has the biggest cluster of such cases at 10, but several others have been reported in Michigan, Missouri, and Massachusetts. Bloomberg has the total at 17. Some of the kids have tested positive for the virus, but not all, making any connection unclear. “It's one possibility we are looking at, but certainly not the only possibility,” says a CDC official. The agency has asked hospitals across the country to report new cases.

Earlier today, the CDC said for the first time that the virus—also often abbreviated as EV-D68 or D68—was found in four people who had died, reports the Wall Street Journal. Three were adults, but one was a 10-year-old girl in Rhode Island. Hers is the first death of a child at least linked to the virus this year, though it's not clear whether the virus is to blame. The girl died of a staph infection, reports the Boston Globe, and tests after her death also confirmed the presence of the virus. "If D68 wasn't around, [the death] could have happened anyway," says the state's health chief. "Thinking about this as a D68 death is a mistake." The virus has been turning up in the US for decades and usually causes symptoms similar to a cold. This year's rash of patients with breathing trouble is unusual, a CDC official tells Bloomberg. (Read more enterovirus 68 stories.)

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