Officials at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of two more cases of acute muscle weakness that could possibly be linked to Enterovirus D-68. An MRI also revealed changes in the spines of the two patients, according to CHOP.
CHOP reported three similar cases of muscle weakness Friday.
“As of today, none of the five patients has been confirmed to be infected with Enterovirus D-68, although further testing is underway,” a CHOP spokeswoman said in a released statement.
Last month CHOP confirmed four cases of EV-D68 among their patients. The Pennsylvania Department of Health also announced last month three confirmed cases of EV-D68 in Pennsylvania residents.
Health officials also confirmed EV-D68 claimed the life of a 4-year-old boy in Mercer County, New Jersey.
The enterovirus germ is not new; most people who catch the virus experience only a runny nose and low-grade fever. It was first identified in 1962 and has caused clusters of illness before.
This year, the virus has gotten more attention because it has been linked to hundreds of severe illnesses. Beginning last month, hospitals in Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago have received a flood of children with trouble breathing.
To avoid getting the virus, health officials recommend:
- Wash hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hand
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups, plates and utensils with people who are sick.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.