Increase in respiratory illnesses seen in children at Indianapolis hospitals

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By Marisela Burgos

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 9, 2014)-- Doctors with Peyton Manning Children’s hospital at St. Vincent have noticed more children visiting their hospital, complaining about respiratory issues.

Health officials are monitoring cases throughout the Midwest of the enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) infection. In Northern Indiana, it has been reported that 3 patients tested positive for enterovirus.

Doctor Don Miller, who is a pediatric hospitalist with Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, said parents have contacted them because they wanted more information about the infection.

“Every parent we talked to –even kids that aren’t here with respiratory issues- are asking about it and asking what to look for and all we’re trying to do is (educate them),” Dr. Miller said.

Dr. Miller said it is not uncommon to see this type of virus, during this time of year. He said the difference this time is that the respiratory illness cases are more severe. Children, who have underlying issues like asthma, are having a harder time getting over respiratory illnesses. Dr. Miller said while they cannot say for sure whether they are seeing this particular enterovirus strain, they are treating every case with the same supportive care.

“We’ve noticed that we had this uptick in kids that didn’t have a significant history, didn’t have things that were what we normally see this time of year, and so after talking with different hospitals, we are presuming there’s a lot of it going around,” Dr. Miller said.

Parents are being instructed to educate their children and to practice good hygiene with them. Children should cover their mouth, if they cough, and their nose, if they sneeze. Kids should wash their hands regularly.

The Indiana State Health department is working with other health departments and hospitals to monitor this and to determine whether there are additional cases.

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