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Ninth case of enterovirus D68 identified in BC

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC health care workers have identified this province’s ninth case of enterovirus D68, this one in the Lower Mainland.

The virus attacks the respiratory system and has led to the hospitalization of hundreds of kids in the US.

All of the cases here in BC have affected kids and teens younger than 20 years old.

Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control said in a statement, “We are at 9 laboratory-confirmed cases aged 0-19 years including 6 less than 10 years of age and 3 aged 10 years and older. The most recent is a child aged 5-9 years. Seven of our nine cases are boys.”

We still do not see any spike in respiratory illness indicators nor have there been reports of unusual clusters or outbreaks of severe respiratory illness in BC to us at the BCCDC, but we continue to monitor.”

Almost every health region has been hit with the virus, except for the Vancouver Island Health Authority.


Don’t panic over enterovirus: BC’s top doctor

Even though nine cases have been confirmed here, BC is not yet experiencing an outbreak of enterovirus.

Dr. Perry Kendall says none of the cases are linked, which is why it’s not classified as an outbreak. “We are not seeing any increased outbreaks in daycare facilities and there is no increase of kids coming to the emergency room at BC’s Children’s [Hospital] which is one of the indicators we look at. I don’t think in BC we are seeing outbreaks of this disease, we are [only] seeing it happen if they are in the community.”

Kendall says it is possible BC will see more cases because students are back at school, spreading the respiratory illness.

He says paralytic symptoms have presented in some cases. “It appears to be rare, we have two cases [of paralysis] in BC. Whether it is  caused by the Enterovirus or not really isn’t known but [this type of virus] can affect the brain, it could affect the spinal cord.”

Kendall adds enterovirus seems to affect children more because they haven’t built up a resistance to it.