Unidentified virus might be something to sneeze about in South Carolina

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - An illness is spreading nationwide and it's spreading fast. There are even reports of virus outbreaks in the Palmetto State.

Symptoms for this unidentified virus, can start like anything else, a runny nose, or a cough, but wheezing is one stand out symptom sending many children, through hospital doors.

Several states, together are reporting hundreds of hospitalizations and thousands of germs, and experts are predicting, this is only the beginning of the spread. It starts as a common cold, it turns into respiratory distress, leaving many kids gasping for breath.

"In Colorado, there's been a handful of children who have been very affected to the point where they've had to go on to life support for a short time period but most of the other children seem to be recovering, easier," said Pulmonary Critical Care Doctor Kevin Dineen, at Grand Strand Medical Center.

While the CDC stays on top of these reports from at least 10 states, some doctors are speculating it could be Enterovirus 68.

Doctors say this is not uncommon, there are more than 100 types of Enteroviruses which cause 10 to 15 million infections nationwide, each year. What's stirring up the conversation, is the high number of people being hospitalized, because while many kids can recover, it could be serious for some.

"If you have a child who has asthma or underlying lung problems who develops wheezing on top of cold or flu like symptoms, should be probably be a reason to get checked out," said Dr. Dineen.

Doctors say there is no vaccine to treat the illness, so you need to stay on top of keeping your kids germ free. The simple sanitary practices like covering your mouth when you cough, avoiding those who are sick and washing your hands, is what's going to keep you from catching nasty illnesses spreading around.

This rare respiratory virus is common right now for children under five, or those with asthma.

Right now there are reports of suspected outbreaks of Enterovirus in at least ten states, including South Carolina, and doctors anticipate cases to spread.

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