Kitchener, Ont. hospital confirms case of enterovirus D68

TORONTO – A patient at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ont. has the respiratory virus enterovirus D68, Global News has confirmed.

A spokeswoman for Region of Waterloo Public Health said the health authority is monitoring the situation after a lab test conducted at the hospital came back positive.

The health authority wouldn’t disclose any further details about the patient or the person’s condition Friday.

“As with any respiratory illness, individuals or parents are advised to seek medical attention with their family healthcare provider if their children develop high fever, coughs or experience difficulty in breathing,” Julie Kalbfleisch, manager of information and communication for the health authority, said in an email.

The obscure virus has sent hundreds of U.S. children to the emergency room. Although it’s typical for EV-D68 to rear its head in the fall, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of hospitalizations this year is unprecedented.

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READ MORE: Is enterovirus D68 on Canadian health officials’ radar?

The virus has also popped up across Canada over the past few weeks. Saskatchewan has confirmed 13 cases, B.C. has confirmed three and lab tests in Alberta have turned up 18 cases of the virus.

The illness’s symptoms are almost identical to those associated with the common cold. But children with respiratory conditions such as asthma who get infected with EV-D68 may develop a more severe infection, such as pneumonia.

Health officials recommend staying home if you are sick and coughing or sneezing into your sleeve to prevent infecting others. To avoid getting infected, Kalbfleisch suggests frequent hand washing, disinfecting surfaces such as doorknobs and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

With files from Carmen Chai