Public health officials test kids for enterovirus

(WISH Photo, file)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Public Health officials say they’re investigating cases of a respiratory illness in children in Mobile and north Alabama.

Officials in Alabama say six specimens have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be tested for enterovirus D68. Health officials say the department sent a message to all primary health physicians Aug. 29 to begin testing children showing symptoms of a severe respiratory illness.

Michigan health officials also say they are investigating severe respiratory illnesses in children but haven’t confirmed if the cases are associated with a national outbreak.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Tuesday it’s received reports of an increase in such illnesses and is working with local health agencies. Officials are forwarding samples to the Centers for Disease Control.

The virus can cause mild cold-like symptoms including runny noses, coughing and wheezing. The virus has been reported in hundreds of children in more than 10 states. Public health officials have said it may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to a germ that causes the common cold.

Officials from the CDC have said cases this summer have been unusually severe.

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