An outbreak of EV-D68 in the Hamilton region has pushed the number of Ontario children infected with the respiratory virus to over 100.
Test results show Enterovirus D68, which has sickened thousands of kids in the United States, has infected 96 people in Hamilton over the past four weeks.
Fourteen of these cases were reported in the last week alone. Yet, Dr. Marek Smieja, head of virology at the HRLMP, said there has actually been a decrease in the number of samples received over the past few days.
“We know from experience, and the science behind how viruses spread, that EV-D68 has now peaked and is declining compared to other types of viruses,” Smieja said in a written statement.
Many of the 96 patients were children who were treated at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Some of them needed hospitalization and most are recovering at home.
Officials at Hamilton Health Sciences are advising people to attend a hospital emergency department if they are having trouble breathing. Children with asthma are particularly vulnerable and should be monitored closely.
If patients are able to breathe comfortably, health officials are advising people that testing for the virus is not required and that they should treat the illness as they would a cold or flu.
The virus has infected at least 130 children in 12 U.S. states since mid-August, and it has also been detected in B.C. and Alberta.
Four cases were confirmed in Ottawa last week. The affected children were discharged from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario without requiring treatment in the intensive care unit.
There is no specific medication to treat the virus.