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What is Enterovirus?
01:40 - Source: CNN

For more on Enterovirus D68, watch “Sanjay Gupta, M.D.” this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

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New York State Department of Health confirms cases of Enterovirus D68

Enterovirus D68 seems to be causing breathing problems for children with asthma

Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri also have confirmed cases

CNN  — 

More than a dozen cases of Enterovirus D68 have been confirmed in New York state, according to officials.

“EV-D68 is causing cases of severe respiratory illness … sometimes resulting in hospitalization, especially among children with asthma,” the NYS Department of Health said in a statement Friday.

Enteroviruses are quite common in September; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 10 to 15 million people are infected by these viruses each year. But doctors believe this particular type of enterovirus, Enterovirus D68, is causing more serious problems than others have in years past.

Doctors told WPMI that these patients are usually in the hospital for one to two days; others are being treated and released the same day.

New York is the first state in the Northeast with confirmed cases.

On Thursday, media reports of kids flooding ERs in Alabama and Washington state spoke to the spread of the virus. Other states, including Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah, are also investigating clusters of respiratory illnesses. Several have sent samples to the CDC for testing.

New York sent additional samples from patients with severe respiratory illness to the CDC for confirmation of Enterovirus D68.

The virus is hard to track, as so many enteroviruses cause similar symptoms, and hospitals generally do not test for specific types.

Enteroviruses usually present like the common cold; symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and a cough. Most people recover without any treatment. But if your child appears to be having trouble breathing, take him or her to a doctor right away.

“It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses,” said New York acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Because there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus, our best defense is to prevent it by practicing proper hygiene.”