NEWS

Enterovirus D68: 9th B.C. case detected

10/05/2014 01:55 EDT | Updated 12/05/2014 05:59 EST
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has confirmed a ninth case of D-68 Enterovirus, up from eight last week.

The most recent case has struck a child between the ages of five and nine-years-old.

The virus, which mainly affects children, presents as a common cold but can cause more severe respiratory problems.

Several cases started in the United States, but have since spread to Canada.  A four-year-old boy in New Jersey died from the illness.

However, Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control says it's been near that severe here.

"In British Columbia we haven't seen the spikes in severe respiratory illness that have been associated with D68 in other parts of North America, particularly in the US, although we have picked up sporadic cases of Enterovirus D68."

Cases spread out around province

Skowronski says six of the cases involve children under the age of six years of age, and three children aged 10 or older.

Seven of the nine cases are boys.

Four cases are in the area covered by the Fraser Health Authority, three are in the region covered by Vancouver Coastal Health. One case is in the Interior Health Authority and one is in the Northern Health Authority, Skowronski said.

"We still do not see any spike in respiratory illness indicators," she said, "nor have there been reports of unusual clusters or outbreaks of severe respiratory illness in BC to us at the BCCDC, but we continue to monitor."

Since the outbreak began, the virus has sickened mainly children and caused a small number to develop polio-like paralysis symptoms on both sides of the border.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said the province is closely watching two such cases in B.C., but it is too soon to say if it's the virus that has caused the paralysis since the number of cases is so few it's difficult to determine whether they are linked or coincidental.

The two patients who suffered partial paralysis-like symptoms live in separate parts of the province and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control does not believe their cases are linked.

Kendall said the best way to reduce the spread of virus is frequent hand washing, but there is no specific treatment for it.

MORE:cbcNews