8 test positive for enterovirus-68 at Baystate in Springfield - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

8 test positive for enterovirus-68 at Baystate in Springfield

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Dr. Michael Klatte, an infectious disease specialist at Baystate Children's Hospital. Dr. Michael Klatte, an infectious disease specialist at Baystate Children's Hospital.
The CDC has confirmed multiple cases of EV-68 in Massachusetts. The CDC has confirmed multiple cases of EV-68 in Massachusetts.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday that eight specimens taken from patients who were treated at Baystate Medical Center have tested positive for the respiratory illness known as enterovirus-D68.

Baystate Children's Hospital received confirmation from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Friday that EV-D68 is circulating throughout the Western Mass community, according to Dr. Michael Klatte, a pediatric disease specialist from Baystate Children's Hospital. 

"Baystate Children's Hospital had been anticipating that we would have positive confirmation of these tests based on the clinical symptoms our patients had been showing," Klatte said.

Health officials confirmed the first case of EV-68 in Massachusetts on Tuesday. The child, an 8-year-old girl, was from southeastern Massachusetts. Baystate health officials held a press conference last week and confirmed that seven children were hospitalized at Baystate Children's Hospital with EV-D68 symptoms. 

Klatte said all eight patients who tested positive for the illness have already been treated and released from the hospital. 

"The small number of patients who are being admitted are being treated and released within 24 to 48 hours. I wanted to emphasize that we did not have any patients that required life support or a breathing tube to help them breathe," Klatte said.  

EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • cough
  • body and muscle aches

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states that EV-D68 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.

Although the virus has made headlines recently, Klatte said it's not an alarm for concern among the public. He describes it has being like the flu, but can be particularly stressful for children with breathing problems. 

Klatte said simple steps can help prevent the spread of the virus. 

"Good hand hygiene including washing your hands after blowing your child's nose or your nose and when you changes your child's diaper because we know it can spread through those means," Klatte said. 

The number of children to contact the virus may soon dwindle as the enterovirus season is coming to an end. 

"Usually enteroviurs season typically begins in late April to May and complete resolution my mid to late October so we're really coming up on the end of the classic enterovirus season," Klatte said. 

Baystate Medical Center said an age limit on certain visitors will still remain in place out of precaution. They're asking anyone who is visiting a child or a new mother to be 14-years-old or older. 

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