DHHR Requires Reporting of Acute Neurologic Illness
Officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health today filed an order requiring health care providers and health care facilities to report to the State DHHR all cases of acute neurologic illness with focal limb weakness of unknown etiology (cause or origination) in children, at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have issued the order today with the Secretary of State’s Office as a precaution,” said Dr. Letitia Tierney, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health. “Our action follows CDC’s Health Advisory concerning CDC’s investigation into a potential link between enterovirus EV-D68 and the acute neurologic illness with focal limb weakness of unknown etiology in children. CDC’s investigation is continuing and this is a proactive approach on the part of the Bureau for Public Health to track this issue.”
CDC’s investigation is looking into a cluster of nine pediatric patients in Colorado hospitalized with acute neurologic illness of undetermined etiology that might be linked to EV-D68. CDC’s Health Advisory was shared with providers across the country to determine if there are children with similar clinical and radiographic findings being cared for in other states.
West Virginia has had four confirmed cases of EV-D68 in three counties: Greenbrier, Wirt and Wood. To date, in West Virginia, there has not been any report of an acute neurological illness similar to that seen in Colorado.
“We will continue to follow the CDC investigation closely and will be monitoring activity in West Virginia,” said Tierney. “In the meantime, we should continue taking the standard enterovirus precautions of washing hands frequently with soap and water and covering coughs and sneezes.”
Residents should pay close attention to respiratory status as difficulty breathing, or more difficulty than usual, can be a symptom. There are no specific treatments for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. There are no anti-viral medications currently available for those infected with EV-D68 nor are there any vaccines to prevent infections of EV-D68. Since people with asthma are at greater risk for respiratory illnesses, they should take their regular medications and follow their action plan to maintain control of their illness during this time. In addition, a flu shot is recommended for everyone.
Toby D. Wagoner ■ Public Information Officer ■ Bureau for Public Health ■ Phone: (304) 356-4042 ■ E-mail: Toby.D.Wagoner@WV.Gov