TALLAHASSEE, Florida – The Florida Department of Health announced the first confirmed case of an enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) infection in a 10-year-old girl who was treated and since released in Hillsborough County.
After the initial report was released Tuesday afternoon, state health officials clarified to 10 News that the girl actually lives in Polk County, but was treated in Hillsborough County. We also learned later Tuesday, the girl was treated at Tampa General Hospital a month ago and released after six days of treatment.
The Department is advising parents, childcare workers and healthcare professionals to be vigilant for respiratory virus infections such as enterovirus (EV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza (flu).
"The most effective way to prevent enteroviruses is to practice good hygiene regularly by washing hands often," said Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children's Medical Services, Dr. Celeste Philip. "Those having cold-like or flu-like symptoms should stay home from child care centers, school or work and, if possible, remain apart from other family members."
Enterovirus D68 can cause difficulty breathing in infants and young children. Like RSV and the flu, EV-D68, is highly contagious and could spread through droplets in coughs or sneezes or when someone touches a contaminated surface like a countertop or doorknob. Frequent hand washing and non-alcohol surface disinfectants are recommended since alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disinfectants have not been found to be effective against EV-D68.
Enterovirus D68 is often mistaken for a common cold, the flu, or RSV. Adults and older children might have only mild symptoms such as a cough, stuffy nose and low-grade fever. People with asthma, particularly children, are at increased risk for infection from EV-D68. EV infections can become serious enough to require hospitalization.
Other prevention measures include:
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow;
- Avoiding sharing cups and eating utensils;
- Refraining from kissing those with symptoms;
- Frequently cleaning potentially contaminated surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, tables, toys, etc.) using a bleach solution (1 part bleach and 9 parts water).
Call the doctor if you or your child has any of these symptoms:
- trouble breathing
- high fever with ill appearance
- thick nasal discharge
- signs of dehydration
10 News will have more on this developing story as soon as information becomes available. 10 News reporter Andre Senior is following this story tonight, you can follow him for live updates on Twitter, @AndreSenior.