- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota has joined a group of states reporting a respiratory illness caused by the virus known as enterovirus 68.

State health officials said Wednesday that a case was confirmed Tuesday evening via lab tests from child hospitalized with acute symptoms. The child has since been released and is recovering at home, the agency said.

Shortly after the Department of Health report, the University of Minnesota said it had confirmed 11 cases at its children’s hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. A hospital spokeswoman told The Associated Press she did not know the conditions of the patients.

The Health Department said the results confirmed suspicions that enterovirus is circulating in Minnesota. Some hospitals have reported an increase in children being brought in for respiratory problems.

At least 12 other states have confirmed cases of the virus, many in the Midwest. It can cause mild to severe illness, and may even require breathing help for patients with the worst cases. But no deaths have been reported.



Enterovirus 68 is an uncommon strain of a common family of viruses usually seen most in summer and fall. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said this summer’s cases are unusually severe. Researchers say they’re not sure what’s behind the outbreak.

Children with asthma and other health problems are most vulnerable, but children without asthma can get it too. State health officials said careful hand-washing can help protect against the disease.

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