Friday, the California Department of Public Health confirmed a total of 14 cases of Enterovirus D68 across seven California counties.
Five patients are in San Diego, two are in Alameda and one is in Solano County. All patients that tested positive range from less than one year old to 15 years old.
Health officials say most who test positive for EV-D68 only have minor symptoms, but in rare cases, it has led to serious respiratory problems in children, and even limb paralysis.
“For the average person this infection is one that will go without creating too many problems,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director for infectious disease for the state public health department.
However, Chavez says one of the 14 patients with enterovirus in California has paralysis. Doctors are still looking into a possible link connection between paralysis and EV-D68.
Children with asthma are at a higher risk for serious symptoms. “We are particularly concerned about making sure that any parent that may have a child with asthma that they watch closely for respiratory conditions. If they don’t get well quickly seek medical attention,” said Chavez.
As enterovirus spreads in California, pediatricians in Sacramento are looking for symptoms in children, but it can be difficult, “looking for it specifically would be very difficult because it doesn’t present itself in any one particular way,” said Sacramento pediatrician, Dr. Daniel McCrimons.
McCrimons said there is a simple way to help prevent the virus.
“Just make sure they have their hands washed on a regular basis to make sure than they are noticing any changes that show increased respiratory effort,” he said.
Enterovirus season runs from late summer through fall. State health officials are still running tests and expect to see more confirmed cases in California in the coming weeks.
Doctors say if a child has difficulty breathing or weakness in the limbs, they should see a doctor right away.