A particular kind of respiratory illness is spreading rapidly among children in the US which has puzzled scientists. Originally begun in the Midwest, the infection has traveled to 38 states of the US. In most cases children were affected with only one instance of an adult patient with the illness.

Respiratory illness spreads rapidly among children

Respiratory illness spreads rapidly among children

Enterovirus 68 is said to be causing the infection and the source where they acquire the virus from remains unknown which has further made tackling and containing the spread of infection more challenging. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 226 cases and also warned that many cases might have gone unreported as the patients might have been treated at a local health center.

Mary Anne Jackson, the division director of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO said that the reports released by the CDC is just the tip of an ice berg and there might be serious causes behind the spread of the infection. Children’s Mercy Hospital was the first to report the case last month as an unusual number of children were admitted in to be treated for breathing difficulties. From that time, Jackson has been receiving calls from her counterparts and colleagues at other places nationwide asking for guidance to treat the same condition.

Some of her callers also reported that the sudden influx of children to these hospitals outweigh the resources available to treat them. The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital has had to divert ambulances thrice in the past month as the emergency rooms were all filled with children suffering from the same condition, most of them under five years.

It is a noteworthy case because the hospital has not faced a full emergency room situation in ten years. Although the enteroviruses are common, the dynamic of strain has been high this time.