North Idaho Health Officials Set Record Straight on Enterovirus

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The Idaho North Central Health District sent out news releases Monday to insist that there have been no confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 in the district, which includes all of Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties. The health district added that the only confirmed case in the state had been in Southeast Idaho and that child was subsequently released from the hospital. As of now, there have been no linked deaths to the virus in Idaho.

The statement came in the shadow of a confirmation of the death of a Lewiston boy, under the age of 10, who died over the past weekend at Sacred Health Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. The child had preliminarily tested positive for a common enterovirus/rhinovirus, but health officials quickly added that it is not uncommon and that doesn't mean that the child had died of EV-D68. Health officials said that it would take some time for results to return from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to officially rule out EV-D68 as a cause of the child's death.

"Enteroviruses are very common viruses," read the statement from the Idaho North Central District. "Public Health will continue to investigate all significant illnesses that could be related to enterovirus D68."

Social media had fueled fears of EV-D68 when the Idaho child's death had been confirmed, but health officials were quick to point out that dozens of children have tested positive for the common enterovirus, which causes 10 million to 15 million infections in the United States each year. The particular EV-D68 strain has been associated with severe respiratory illnesses.