Schools wary of respiratory virus - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Schools wary of respiratory virus

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A virus that has sent more more than 1000 children to the hospital has been reportedly found in Iowa.

Enterovirus EV-D68 causes symptoms like the common cold in most people, but can cause breathing difficulties in children and those with asthma and compromised immune systems.

It's unclear where in Iowa it was found, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. 12 states in the Midwest and South have requested the Centers for Disease Control's help controlling the disease.

Waterloo Schools officials said there's no sign of an enterovirus outbreak in the district, but they're preparing all the same. Symptoms look a lot like the common cold.

District officials say they're most interested in prevention.

“If they're having symptoms of coughing or sneezing, make sure they cover their mouth to keep from spreading germs,” said Cora Turner, Executive Director of Student and At-Risk Services. “And, if your children are ill, allow them to stay home so they don't allow it to spread.”

And sometimes, the simplest advice is best.

“And we often make sure that we tell the student, 'Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,'” Turner said.

Black Hawk County Health officials told KWWL that the spread of the virus is difficult to track, since it's not a reportable illness. Also, most people don't know to the doctor for a common cold.

“People have colds all the time, and who knows what those colds may be,” said Bruce Meisinger, Director of the Black Hawk Co. Health Dept.

Meisinger said they're in touch with schools, and if an outbreak was identified, they would notify parents.

He said most patients will recover from an enterovirus infection on their own, with plenty of rest, fluids and time off from school or work. However, he said if someone is struggling to breathe, call a doctor.

There is currently no vaccine for this strain of enterovirus.

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