Hospitals in the Twin Cities are seeing cases of enterovirus in children.
This is consistent with recent times. Warning from the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionIt is reporting an increase in pediatric hospitalizations associated with enterovirus and rhinovirus.
“I have never seen anything like this before. It was scary,” said Alexa Brett of Circle Pines, whose son Easton recently became ill.
Brett said five-month-old Easton had a runny nose and cough, which she initially believed to be allergies or the flu.
“But then he shook his head and turned very pale. It basically looks lifeless. He wasn’t breathing,” Brett said.
She said he was taken by ambulance to HCMC in Minneapolis, where he was hospitalized for 24 hours after testing positive for enterovirus and rhinovirus.
“We’ve been seeing more and more cases of respiratory enterovirus here,” said Dr. Stesen Marushek, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Hennepin Healthcare.
She also said that children who arrive at the hospital with symptoms are infected with several viruses such as covid-19, influenza and enterovirus/rhinovirus.
Marushek said hundreds of children at Hennepin Health Care have been diagnosed with enterovirus over the past six weeks.
According to the CDC, symptoms can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, skin rash, sore throat, and body and muscle aches.
As the number of hospitalizations in children increases, the CDC is also reporting an increase in enterovirus D-68, which can lead to rare but serious side effects, such as paralysis.
“A small group of children suffered some permanent damage, but many children will recover,” Marushek said.
According to the CDC, the average lifespan of enterovirus D-68 is three years, but children and teenagers of all ages can become infected.
“It’s a cautionary tale for pediatricians,” said Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota.
Red flags include a bad cold that doesn’t feel good, a fever that lasts more than three days, and very labored breathing, she said.
“If you’re seeing more serious things like your child looking weak or having trouble moving, for goodness sake these things should absolutely get medical attention,” Chawla says.
Brett said her son made a full recovery from enterovirus in about a week.
“Thank you and I hope he stays healthy. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone’s family,” Brett said.
As enterovirus cases are on the rise in general, the Minnesota Department of Health told 5 Eyewitness News there are no confirmed cases of enterovirus D-68 in Minnesota so far. The spokesperson made this statement saying, “This is an area we are actively monitoring, especially given the trends we are seeing at the national level.”