ALBERTA

Rare Enterovirus D68 Cases Spike In Alberta

09/15/2014 08:26 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST
Cyrus McCrimmon via Getty Images
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: 13-year-old Will Cornejo is recovering at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver on Friday, September 5, 2014 from what doctors suspect is the respiratory virus, human enterovirus 68 that has come to Colorado. Will's parents Jennifer and Matt Cornejo of Lone Tree were with him. The virus comes on very quick. Will was at school on Tuesday, woke up not feeling well in the night, in the morning his mom found him unconscious on the couch and had to call 911. He was flown to the Denver hospital for treatment. He is in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. (Denver Post Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon)
EDMONTON - Alberta's medical officer of health says a recent spike in the number of children with respiratory illness is pretty normal for this time of year.

Dr. James Talbot says Alberta tested 100 samples from children under 18 who were admitted to hospitals across the province in the first 10 days of September.

The results were that 71 had rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, while the rest were enteroviruses.

A type of enterovirus, called EV-D68, has been confirmed in 104 young people in 10 U.S. states, from mid August to Sept. 15.

Talbot says 18 of the 100 samples in Alberta were EV-D68, but further testing has to be done to see if it's the same strain as in the U.S.

He says they only tested for enterovirus because of the interest over the U.S. situation.

"Every year we have what we call a post-back-to-school respiratory spike and this year's been no exception," Talbot said Monday.

"It's so normal that Alberta Health Services plans for it and they've opened five peds (pediatric) ICU beds in case some of the hospital cases require it."

Talbot says there is no vaccine for enterovirus D-68 and the same steps are taken to reduce the spread of disease as for the influenza virus and colds.

"This is a good time to emphasize hand washing with the kids, make sure they cough into their elbow, and they discard soiled Kleenexes as soon as they used them," he said.

"Keep sick kids away from daycare and schools so they don't transmit the disease to others. If your child is doing well with rest and fluids and staying home from school and starts to feel better in two or three days, it's just your common common, garden-variety cold."

Talbot says if a child has asthma and gets what appears to be a cold, a parent should watch more closely and consult with a doctor if the asthma medication doesn't appear to be working.