Doctors believe patients have strain of virus sweeping Midwest

CDC tests will have to confirm specific strain on enterovirus
Doctors believe patients have strain of virus sweeping Midwest

Doctors at local hospitals are treating a confirmed case of enterovirus, but are unsure of what strain of the virus they are dealing with.

One case has been confirmed at UW Hopsital and eight cases are being reported by Dean Clinic and St. Mary’s Hospital.

Dr. Nasia Safdar said they are unsure if it is the D68 strain, which has been hitting hundreds of children across the Midwest.

Enterovirus D68 has been spreading throughout the country, but until Monday no cases were reported in Wisconsin.

Officials said there are over 100 strains of enterovirus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will determine which strain has popped up in Madison.

Safdar said doctors at UW Hospital believe they are dealing with the D68 strain, but they don’t know when they’ll get the test back to confirm.

“I think it is inevitable. I mean, we are surrounded by other states that are reporting hundreds of cases. So I think the only reason we haven’t seen more here is we haven’t looked like we’re looking now, and I’m sure as we look now we’ll probably think they’ve been here all along,” Safdar said.

Most patients who have enterovirus have cold symptoms, and 10-15 percent of patients with the strain will have to see a doctor or be hospitalized, officials said.

“They should know that the vast majority of the time it still is a common cold, so if the child is doing well — they are eating OK, they are breathing OK, they’ll be a little miserable with the cold but not terribly so — then it will blow over like any other cold would,” Safdar said. “There is a small portion of children where if they start to complain of air hunger, like they are not getting enough air, or they start to wheeze or the parent can see that they are breathing faster than usual that’s the time to get them to medical attention.”

Doctors said even for patients who require hospitalization, this is a very treatable illness.

Doctors at UW Hospital said the virus has been around since 1962, but they are seeing more cases than normal this year.

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