First Maine child tests positive for enterovirus

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AUGUSTA (AP) — The first Maine child has tested positive for a severe respiratory virus that has been making children sick across the country, health officials said on Wednesday.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that a child from York County is the first confirmed case of enterovirus D8 in the state. The child, who was hospitalized, is now back home and doing well, officials said.

The highly contagious illness has been confirmed in more than 470 people in dozens of states, according to the CDC. So far, no deaths have been attributed to the virus.

Officials are urging Mainers to be on the lookout for cold-like symptoms that could signal the virus, such as a fever, runny nose, sneezing and muscle aches. Children with asthma appear to be more susceptible to the illness and in some cases people have experienced trouble breathing and wheezing, the CDC said.

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Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine CDC, said that parents should take their children to the hospital right away if they see these symptoms or rapid changes in their child’s health.

Officials are encouraging people to wash their hands and disinfect areas like tables and doorknobs to prevent the spread of the virus. Those who have any cold-like symptoms should stay home, officials say.

“As is the case with the common cold, the best protection against EV-D68 is good hygiene,” Pinette said in a statement.

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