More cases of enterovirus D68 possible in SF

San Francisco health officials are continuing to test for potential cases of enterovirus D68 this week and say it is possible more people will be diagnosed with the viral infection.

“We may end up with a few additional cases,” said Dr. Cora Hoover, director of communicable disease control and prevention for the Department of Public Health.

The latest outbreak is the largest ever reported of the virus in the U.S.

Enterovirus D68 usually causes mild symptoms similar to a cold or flu, though it can occasionally cause severe respiratory symptoms, especially in children with a history of asthma, according to health officials.

The first confirmed case of enterovirus D68 in a San Francisco resident was announced Friday. The patient, whom health officials only identified as a child under 18, was in “good condition” after being admitted to a hospital outside The City for two days in mid-September, Hoover said.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for enterovirus D68, but doctors say there are effective treatments available for breathing problems that can result from the disease. It is spread through close contact with someone who is infected.

Enterovirus D68 is one of about 100 enterovirus types. It was first discovered in the U.S. in California in the 1960s. As of Tuesday, health officials had confirmed 628 people in 44 states and the District of Columbia with a respiratory illness caused by the virus since mid-August.

Health officials are unsure why this year's outbreak is so widespread.

On Friday, the same day that the health department announced the first enterovirus D68 case in a city resident, the San Francisco Unified School District distributed letters with information in English, Spanish and Chinese about the illness as well as safety precautions to schools and parents.

Per SFUSD protocol, if a student has a fever, their parent is alerted and the child is sent home. Those having difficulty breathing are also told to see a doctor, said Linda Boyer-Chu, a nurse at Washington High School who has worked in public health for nearly three decades.

“It's basically not any more serious than any other flu virus, except for a few rare cases,” Boyer-Chu said of enterovirus D68. “What I worry about is people who are not aware just letting their symptoms continue without treatment.”

A 4-year-old boy in New Jersey was the first confirmed death due to enterovirus D68 this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also found the virus in four other people who died this year.

Preventing spread of enterovirus D68

– Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers

– Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

– Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick

– If you are sick, stay home from work or school

– Cover your coughs and sneezes

– Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

Source: Department of Public Health

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police release an image a cracked windshield on a Prius that Cesar Vargas allegedly tried to carjack. Vargas, who was shot by police a short time later, can be seen in videos jumping on the windshield and pushing a Muni passenger who disembarked from a bus. (Courtesy SFPD
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

New legislation would make sure supportive housing tenants don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner))
Supportive housing tenants could get more help paying the rent

Supportive housing tenants struggling to pay rent could soon see their payments… Continue reading

Organizers of the San Francisco International Arts Festival had planned to use parts of Fort Mason including the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery to host performances by about a dozen Bay Area arts groups. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Arts festival sues city over permit denial

Organizer says outdoor performances should be treated like demonstrations, religious gatherings

An oversight body for San Francisco’s mental health programs may be restructured after questions were raised about its management and lack of effectiveness. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Behavioral health oversight body looks for new start — and staff — after mismanagement

Members of an oversight body for San Francisco’s behavioral health programs said… Continue reading

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

Most Read