ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Sen. Charles Schumer has called for better tracking and information about an unusual respiratory illness in children that has been found in New York City and Long Island.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports at least 160 lab-confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 from 22 states.
Schumer said New York City has many asthmatic children who are especially vulnerable.
The lawmaker urged the CDC on Sunday to provide help and information to communities, schools and parents to ensure the virus is quickly recognized, diagnosed and treated.
He said the virus is a problem that's not getting as much attention because of all the focus on Ebola, 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten reported.
"Look, lets make no mistake about it this is not Ebola. Ebola is a deadly disease, but Ebola -- most health professionals tell me -- has very little chance of entering this country," Schumer said.
Schumer Wants CDC's Help To Prevent Spread Of Enterovirus D68 In NY
Schumer also wants the CDC to encourage health professionals to report cases to track the spread. He said since reporting enterovirus D68 to the CDC is not mandatory, the number of cases is probably higher than known, Baumgarten reported.
"It's probably much more widespread than 153 cases," he said. "Those are the 153 that have been tested, results positive, and reported to CDC. So right now, in all likelihood there are thousands of cases.
He also called for more virus testing supplies to be made available to New York hospitals and schools.
Meanwhile in Connecticut, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro is set to host an informational briefing on the virus.
DeLauro will be joined by the superintendent and director of school nursing for New Haven public schools and a pediatric emergency medicine physician from Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital on Monday night to make parents and health care providers, especially school nurses, more aware of the virus.
The virus can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties.
The virus is spread through contact with an infected person or via contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, aches and wheezing.
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