- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The manager of Alaska’s infectious disease program says it wouldn’t be surprising if an unusual respiratory illness that has affected children in the Lower 48 is detected soon in Alaska.

So far, Dr. Michael Cooper said Alaska has not had any confirmed cases of enterovirus 68.

The virus can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Kids with asthma have been especially vulnerable.

The state health department says infection occurs through close contact with someone who is infected or by touching one’s mouth, eyes or nose after touching a contaminated surface. The department says there are no specific anti-viral medications for the illness.

To guard against respiratory illnesses, the department recommends good hygiene and getting a flu shot in early fall.

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