Hospitals put visitor restrictions in place to curb spread of enterovirus

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By: Liz Gelardi

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 15, 2014) - Signs in the lobby of Peyton Manning Children's Hospital warn about visitor restrictions. No one under the age of 18 is allowed to visit. The hospital is being cautious to prevent any spread of enterovirus or other respiratory illness.

On Monday, St. Vincent Hospital issued restrictions for Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, St. Vincent Carmel Hospital NICU, St. Vincent Women’s Hospital NICU and the labor/delivery unit of St. Vincent Frankfort Hospital.

Tuesday, Eskenazi Health announced that its NICU will also have visitation restrictions. According to Eskenazi, people under the age of 18 and those with flu-like systems aren't allowed to visit.

At St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and St. Vincent Mercy Hospital, people younger than 16 are prohibited from visiting.

Similar visitor policies are in place at several Indiana Hospitals. Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health will not allow visitors who are ill or under the age of 18 into its neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.  The same restriction is taking effect at Franciscan St. Francis Health’s NICU. IU Health is encouraging families receiving treatment in its other facilities to limit visitors to those who are essential to caring for the patient.

Officials with the Marion County Health Department said there are no confirmed cases of the enterovirus in the area.

"This time of year in the late summer typically we don't see see so much respiratory disease. There's often a little bit of an uptick in respiratory infections as soon as school starts, but to see the number of children with wheezing who are getting admitted to the hospital is unusual," said Dr. Chris Belcher,  Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist with St. Vincent.

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