Denver Metro Children Experience Mysterious Severe Respiratory Problems

A mysterious respiratory illness has hit the Denver metro area, leaving more than 900 kids sick since August 18. The symptoms start out as a common cold, but worsen quickly, leaving those with asthma severely debilitated.

“My head started hurting and after that my lungs started sort of closing up. It felt different,” said 13-year-old Will Cornejo, of Lone Tree. “He was in really bad shape. He came really close to death. He was unconscious at our house and white as a ghost with blue lips — he just passed out,” said Will’s mother, Jennifer Cornejo. “To go from a cold to you know, minutes away from death is kind of scary,” said his father, Matt Cornejo.

Will says he doesn’t remember some of the events from the past week. He is slowly recovering and is eager to get back to home and school. Doctors informed 7NEWS that the mysterious illness hitting Denver could be linked to the human enterovirus 68, a relative of the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. “Our pediatric floor is full of patients with pretty severe respiratory distress,” said Dr.Raju Meyappan, a critical care physician at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. “This is the worst I’ve seen in my time here at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. We’re going to have a pretty busy winter at this institution and throughout the hospitals of Denver.”

The virus is extremely rare, and doctors are still trying to pinpoint its source in the Denver metro area. Identifying ground zero could lead to understanding why the illness was able to spread so quickly.

In other medical news, the Inquisitr News reports that the risk for respiratory tract infections is lower in children with dogs. This study may encourage more parents to adopt or buy a dog, not only for the pet benefits, but also for medical benefits.

As of August 18, more than 900 children have been rushed to Children’s Hospital Colorado for the severe respiratory illness. Because this illness is a virus, antibiotics are ineffective. Prevention is the best path to take.

“If you have an asthmatic child and they are feeling sick and you are feeling ‘should we go to the hospital,'” Jennifer Cornego said. “Go! It’s worth the co-payment. It’s worth having the doctors check it out.”

Doctors will hopefully identify the source of this virus and find a way to quarantine the area and treat the sick children.