THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

New York confirms more than a dozen enterovirus cases

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) advised parents on Friday to be aware of the signs and symptoms of enterovirus, a serious respiratory illness confirmed in more than a dozen children across the state.

The strain of enterovirus found in the state, known as EV-D68, can result in hospitalization, especially among children with asthma. Enteroviruses can result in febrile rash and neurologic illnesses including meningitis and encephalitis.

New York health officials advised residents to take precautions against enterovirus, including frequent hand washing and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, especially if someone is sick.

"It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses," Howard Zucker, the acting state health commissioner, said. "Because there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus, our best defense is to prevent it by practicing proper hygiene."

The confirmed cases of EV-D68 were from the Capital Region and Central New York. Specimens from other regions in the state have been sent to the DOH's Wadsworth Laboratory for testing. The laboratory is the only facility in the state equipped to confirm EV-D68.

There is no specific treatment for enterovirus aside other than treatment of symptoms.