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Virus Outbreak Particularly Dangerous for Kids with Asthma

Hundreds of children throughout Chicago, IL and Kansas City, MO have gotten sick from a rare respiratory virus, and health officials believe it may have affected people in about a dozen other states. Known as Enterovirus D68, it's a viral strain normally associated with the common cold. Although the majority of people have only gotten ill with symptoms akin to having a bad cold, kids who have asthma and other respiratory ailments are more likely to require hospitalization because of the virus.

A Snapshot of Who's Gotten Sick

More than 500 kids have been treated at Children's Mercy Hospital for severe respiratory illnesses. Furthermore, at the end of last month, nine of 25 total patients in the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital appeared to have the virus. Many who were diagnosed had other issues that could put them at high-risk. The average age of the patients was four years old. However, there were also sick children as young as six weeks of age, up to 16 years old.

No Special Precautions to Take

Health officials say no deaths have been reported, and the usual precautions to prevent the spread of illness like washing hands thoroughly and avoiding sharing utensils with sick people apply in this case too. However, if you have a child with asthma who's feeling under the weather, it's a good idea to be proactive and make a doctor's appointment, especially since this virus is known to present itself more severely in kids with respiratory problems.

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