A 10-year-old Rhode Island girl died from possible complications of Enterovirus D68. That strain has infected 500 people in 42 states, mostly children, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.
Most cases of the illness are mild, causing nothing more than cold-like symptoms, but doctors are looking into whether Enterovirus D68 could be linked to paralysis symptoms in some infected children and even death.
"There was a death of a 10-year-old child from Cumberland. A tragic death," said Dr. Michael Fine, director of Rhode Island Health Department.
Fifth grader Emily Otrando died less than 24 hours after she was rushed to the hospital for breathing problems.
State health officials said she died from the staph infection, but also tested positive for Enterovirus D68.
"From an infectious disease perspective -- really a perfect storm," Fine said.
Hers was a rare case, but it's the number of Enterovirus cases around the country that's gotten the attention of federal health officials.
For example, 9-year-old Jayden Broadway came home from school one day last month with what seemed like a cold, but his condition quickly deteriorated.
"Literally two hours later, he had tanked so bad and he couldn't breathe," mother Melissa Lewis said.
"It was scary," Jayden said.
Lewis said it was "petrifying" to see her son in that condition.
"It is absolutely the scariest thing ever to see your child not be able to take a breath," Lewis said.
Doctors told her Jayden had Enterovirus D68.
Some children who have tested positive for the virus have also shown polio-like symptoms including limb weakness or paralysis.
Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado have seen 10 children with those symptoms, and health officials in Los Angeles reported a similar case Wednesday.
"We don't know the answer why at this time this virus appears to be so virulent," said Dr. Grace Aldrovandi of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Doctors cannot say for sure whether the virus is to blame for those polio-like symptoms including paralysis, but it's spreading and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts more cases will be confirmed as they continue testing cases of respiratory illnesses.
Children with asthma, like Jayden, are at a greater risk. However, doctors stress that for most people, this is not a life-threatening illness.