New Jersey boy's death is first linked
directly to enterovirus
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[October 06, 2014]
(Reuters) - A New Jersey boy who
went to bed last month in seemingly good health and died in his sleep is
the first fatality linked directly to a strain of enterovirus that has
infected more than 500 people, a local medical official said on Sunday.
The 4-year-old boy, identified as Eli Waller of Hamilton Township,
about 20 miles (32 km) west of Atlantic City, never awoke after
going to sleep on the night of Sept. 24, Hamilton Township Health
Officer Jeff Plunkett said.
Waller's cause of death was determined by the Mercer County Medical
Examiner's office to be Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), Plunkett said. The
finding was based on test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, he said.
More than 500 people, mostly children, in 43 states and the District
of Columbia have been infected with EV-D68 since mid-August,
according to the CDC.
At least four others have died this year, although the CDC said it
is unclear what role the virus played in their deaths.
A 10-year-old Rhode Island girl diagnosed with EV-D68 who died
earlier this month was also suffering from a staph infection,
according to state health officials.
In Colorado, 11 children have been treated for limb weakness or
paralysis-like symptoms after coming down with a respiratory virus
that tests have not conclusively linked to the nationwide EV-D68
outbreak, a spokeswoman for Children's Hospital Colorado said on
Waller was asymptomatic before his death and the onset of his
illness was rapid, Plunkett said.
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He had stayed home from preschool on Sept. 24 with a case pink eye
that the medical examiner found to be unrelated to the virus,
EV-D68 is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses, which are
common at this time of year and cause 10 million to 15 million
infections in the United States annually. Few people who contract
Enterovirus D68 develop symptoms beyond a runny nose and low fever.
(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Jane
Baird and Eric Walsh)
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