Respiratory illness confirmed in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health reported Monday that the state has confirmed its first case of enterovirus, which has started to spread throughout other states, including Missouri.

According to a news release from ADH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of EV-D68, which is a respiratory illness.

Children are most susceptible to the virus and parents are urged to help prevent the spread. Parents are urged to encourage their children to wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing and avoid sharing food of drinks.

"EV-D68 is one of many enteroviruses that are common in the United States and typically circulate during this time of the year," the release stated.

"The current strain of EV-D68 is causing more illness than expected, which is drawing the attention of health care providers. However, the enterovirus season typically dissipates about now," said Dr. Gary Wheeler, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at ADH. "If a child has a cold or cough, parents and caregivers should keep a close watch to make sure the child's cold or cough runs its normal course. If the child starts wheezing or having asthma-like symptoms, they should be taken to their doctor as soon as possible."

It's not known how many cases of EV-D68 are in Arkansas because health care providers are not required to report the illness.

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