Massachusetts Department of Health officials have confirmed the first case of the respiratory illness known as enterovirus-68 in a child from Massachusetts.
The child is an 8-year-old girl from the southeastern part of the state, Massachusetts Department of Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett said at a press conference in Boston Tuesday afternoon.
Officials did not release the name of the girl or the name of the town she lives in.
The respiratory illness initially had been afflicting children mostly in the Midwest, but recently cases have been confirmed in both Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts.
Bartlett said she believes the case is not isolated to southeastern Massachusetts and that EV-68 is circulating throughout the state.
"I would assume it's all around us," Bartlett said, acknowledging the confirmed cases in Connecticut and New York. "This is the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg is much bigger."
Medical professionals at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield told CBS 3 that they are still awaiting test results concerning patients with EV-68 symptoms who were treated at that hospital. Baystate officials said while EV-68 has made headlines, it is most often manageable and not severe.
Most of the children hospitalized at Baystate were in the hospital for 24-48 hours and were discharged, according to Dr. Michael Klatte, an infectious disease specialist at Baystate Children's Hospital.
Doctors at Baystate have discharged seven patients with EV-68 symptoms from the hospital.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 states already have confirmed cases of EV-68 since mid-August.
EV-68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states that EV-68 likely spreads from when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or touches a contaminated surface. Infants, children and teenagers are most likely to become infected as they have not built up immunity to those types of viruses.
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