Virus not confirmed in Michigan yet but is likely already present

NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP — Hundreds of children in as many as 12 U.S. states have become sick by a virus similar to the virus that causes the common cold. It’s called enterovirus 68.

Most cases aren’t severe enough to require medical treatment, but some kids have needed hospital stays, including a Colorado girl seen in this story. The Michigan Department of Community Health is asking doctors statewide to check for the virus in kids who show symptoms of severe respiratory illness.

“Both the Centers for Disease Control federally, and then the state, have been sending out information to providers, public health (organizations), people across the health care spectrum, so that they are up to date on what’s going on,” Marquette County Health Department medical director Dr. Terry Frankovich said.

There are no confirmed Michigan cases so far. However, it’s already been confirmed in Ohio and Illinois, so health experts think the virus is probably in the state already and that a lab will confirm it fairly soon.

“Just like any of the other infections that we talk about, including influenza, we want people to use good prevention,” Dr. Frankovich said. “In this case, the best bang for your buck is hand washing, frequent hand washing, as well as the traditional things — coughing into a sleeve, staying home when you’re sick.”

Enterovirus 68 causes respiratory symptoms that are similar to a common cold, but more severe, often including a great deal of wheezing.