PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The CDC is asking pediatricians to look for enterovirus D68, a rare but serious respiratory infection in children.
"That is a pretty severe illness which can cause muscle paralysis, muscle weakness and a lot of other serious complications which kids need to be hospitalized for," said AHN pediatrician Dr. Michael Petrosky.
Petrosky said enterovirus D68 is nothing new. He's had a few patients over the years and numbers usually spike during the change of seasons.
He said parents need to look for "long and persistent symptoms" that linger longer than the 10 to 14 days of most viral infections.
Its symptoms mirror the common cold, with afflictions like runny nose, cough and fever. But it's what it can progress into that has doctors worried: a disease called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.
"The big worry is the serious symptoms," Petrosky said. "Some people have difficulty swallowing, the weak arm, the inability to use arms or legs. Some people will get a face droop where it seems their eyelid is drooping a little bit more. Those are the things that are a bit more serious and you should see emergent care."
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Parents should contact their child's doctor if they are having difficulty breathing or if their symptoms keep worsening.
Petrosky said getting enterovirus D68 isn't guaranteed to progress into AFM. But he also said that right now, doctors aren't exactly sure how to slow that progression.
The CDC said to protect against the enterovirus, do the same things you'd do to protect against COVID or any virus, including frequent hand-washing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.
For more information from the CDC, click here.
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