Michigan Toddler Dies from Enterovirus D68

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More bad news about the fast-spreading respiratory virus that has sickened hundreds of children across the nation: It’s responsible for another child’s death.

Rudolph Valentini, MD, chief medical officer for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, announced that a 21-month-old girl died at the hospital on Friday afternoon from Enterovirus D68. Madeline Reed of Clinton Township is the first person in the state to die from the illness.

Just last week, a New Jersey state medical examiner said that a 4-year-old boy had died from the virus. And while the role Enterovirus D68 played in five other deaths announced by the CDC is still unclear, the agency said that the virus has now sickened at least 691 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Jennifer Smith, a spokesperson for Michigan’s state Department of Community Health, updated the media on Tuesday, reporting that 31 cases in Michigan tested positive for Enterovirus D68.

Health officials are still investigating nine cases of muscle weakness or paralysis in Colorado children and trying to determine if Enterovirus D68 played a part.

Enterovirus D68 normally lasts about a week, and begins with symptoms mimicking the common cold: runny nose, coughing, and wheezing. It can become severe quickly, and lead to difficulty breathing and blueness around the lips. Children with weakened immune systems and asthma are at greater risk for severe complications.