First Enterovirus D68 Death Reported: Rhode Island Child Dies From Complications Associated With EV-D68

Enterovirus D68 has claimed the life of a child from Rhode Island, just days after the CDC reported that no deaths were linked to the virus. WPRI-12 News reports that the unnamed child died last week as a result of an infection that was “associated with enterovirus D68.”

The CDC’s most recent report, issued on September 30, states that all of the EV-D68 cases have been among children, except for one adult, also from Rhode Island. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement by the Rhode Island Department of Health about the child’s death, the CDC stated that “no deaths attributed to EV-D68 infection have been documented.”

It is unclear as to why the CDC has yet to update the latest information on the virus to reflect the reported death, with WPRI reporting on October 1 that the child died last week.

Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island DOH, tells NBC 10 that the department is “heartbroken” over the death of the child.

“We are all heartbroken to hear about the death of one of Rhode Island’s children. Many of us will have EV-D68. Most of us will have very mild symptoms and all but very few will recover quickly and completely. The vast majority of children exposed to EV-D68 recover completely.”

The CDC states that “only a very small portion” of people who contract enterovirus D68 will get symptoms that go beyond the usual runny nose and high fever. As of September 30, the virus has been confirmed in 41 states, with 472 people known to be sick. Many of the sick also suffer from asthma or a history of wheezing.

WJAR reports that even the most mild of symptoms, similar to the common cold, can quickly progress to wheezing and breathing problems in those who contract enterovirus D68. There is currently no vaccine that can prevent the virus.

“Infants, children, and teens are most at risk, especially children with asthma.There are 9 recent case reports about acute neurologic illness – limb weakness and MRI changes that have occurred at the same time as there has been an outbreak of EV-D68.”

Read more about how you can help prevent the spread of enterovirus on the CDC Web site. There is also a map with information on the 41 states that currently have confirmed cases of EV-D68.