- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Two people were recovering after being treated for enterovirus 68, marking Los Angeles County’s first cases of the unusual respiratory illness in children, health officials said Wednesday.

A patient between 5 and 10 years old was successfully treated for the virus at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in August, said Dr. Grace Aldrovandi, chief of the medical center’s infectious disease division.

The child, who had otherwise been healthy, was admitted after suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection with limb paralysis.

Symptoms are generally mild and include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body and muscle aches. But in severe cases the virus can attack the nervous system, Aldrovandi said at a Wednesday news conference.

In Long Beach, a patient recovered after being treated for the virus at the pediatric intensive care unit at Miller Children’s Hospital.

David Michalik, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, told KCBS-TV (https://cbsloc.al/1rHMkbJ ) that the child, who was hospitalized for a week in September and is now fine at home, needed one-on-one care. The Long Beach patient’s age and gender were not disclosed.

Officials said the virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches contaminated surfaces.

“The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is through simple hand-washing, and other basic hygiene,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county’s interim health officer.

Enterovirus 68 can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Children with asthma have been especially vulnerable.

The virus has been reported in more than 40 states.


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