Hundreds of children in different parts of the U.S. have been hospitalized by a mysterious respiratory virus.
The virus is sweeping the Midwest and has also hit Colorado.
CNN reports that one Kansas City hospital has seen up to 30 children a day come in for treatment for the virus, which is similar to a cold, but with worse symptoms. About 15% of those children are placed in intensive care. The hospital has seen more than 300 cases so far.
On Friday, a hospital in Illinois starting banning children under the age of 12 in an effort to contain the outbreak, according to Reuters. More than 70 children in Quincy, Illinois got sick with the virus over Labour Day weekend.
Cases of the virus have also shown up in Ohio, where hospitals in Columbus have seen unusually high numbers of children seeking treatment for respiratory illness, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Doctors have sent out samples to be tested for human enterovirus 68, or HEV68, a rare illness that affects children more than adults. It’s not yet clear what the particular virus is in this outbreak.
Clusters of HEV68 have been identified in parts of the U.S. before, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is similar to the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.
HEV68 symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, mouth blisters, body and muscle aches and rash. The virus usually isn’t fatal.
The virus spreads like the common cold, so to avoid being infected, wash hands frequently and avoid sharing cups and utensils with those who are sick.
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