Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: September 11, 2014
DOVER (September 11, 2014) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today that 12 children have been hospitalized in Delaware with a respiratory illness caused by a yet to be identified virus. Further testing will be needed to determine if the virus is the same Human Enterovirus 68 (EV- D68) virus that has sickened over a thousand people, especially children, across the country.
Samples are on their way to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine if the illness is caused by EV-D68. Test results are expected within the next 7-10 days.
"While the test results will be helpful, it is most important to stop the spread of this illness, whether or not it is EV-D68," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director. "Viruses that cause respiratory illness are easily spread and likely shared from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces. Sanitary precautions like regular hand washing, staying home when ill, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces are important."
To prevent the spread of viruses that cause respiratory illness:
Adults and children with asthma and allergies are particularly vulnerable to respiratory illness. If someone with existing breathing issues begins to show symptoms of a respiratory illness, it is particularly important to reach out to your health care provider. If someone is having difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately.
Enteroviruses are very common human viruses; there are more than 100 types with varying associated with various clinical syndromes, from minor febrile illness to severe, potentially fatal conditions (e.g., aseptic meningitis, paralysis, myocarditis, and neonatal enteroviral). It is estimated that 10 million to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. Most people infected with enteroviruses have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but some infections can be serious. Infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become sick.
Most enterovirus infections in the United States occur seasonally during the summer and fall. For further information on preventing the spread of illness, visit the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/everyday_preventive.pdf.
Health care providers are asked to report any cluster of respiratory illness in their patients by calling the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology: 1-888-295-5156 or 302-744-1033.
A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com. Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.