Scientists baffled by enterovirus outbreak, now in 38 states

Scientists baffled by enterovirus outbreak, now in 38 states

[Ed. – What would be the cause of an outbreak that affects children almost exclusively, and has spread across 38 states in 5 weeks, other than a massive influx in those states of virus carriers — other children, who all arrived in the weeks just before the outbreak began?  And who would those children be?  Is there anyone who can’t answer that question]

An outbreak of respiratory illness first observed in the Midwest has spread to 38 states, sending children to hospitals and baffling scientists trying to understand its virulent resurgence.

As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed 226 cases of infection with enterovirus 68. But it is likely that many times that number have been stricken. One case involved an adult, and no deaths have been linked to the infection.

“What the C.D.C. is reporting is clearly the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, the division director of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. …

Scientists say they do not know why it is happening. …

Three times in the past month, the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital has had to divert ambulances to other hospitals because its emergency room was filled with children, most of them younger than 5, with severe respiratory illness. Before the outbreak, the hospital had not had to divert ambulances in 10 years, said Dr. Daniel Johnson, the interim section chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the hospital. …

From Aug. 18 to Sept. 24, roughly 3,600 children were treated at emergency and urgent-care facilities at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Most were sent home, but roughly 10 percent were hospitalized because they needed continuous breathing treatment, supplemental oxygen, or even to be placed on a ventilator in the intensive-care unit.

The hospital has had a “bed crunch” and is struggling to maintain supplies of albuterol, a rescue medication used by asthma sufferers…

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