ProMedica issues temporary visiting advisory to prevent enterovirus

(Toledo News Now) - Hundreds of children across the nation are getting sick, flooding hospitals with respiratory conditions caused by the spread of the enterovirus.

Ohio is one of ten states across the country asking the Center for Disease Control for assistance in combating the virus.

The virus essentially causes a very bad cold.  It is typically seen around September every year and is not fatal. Symptoms of the virus include cough, fever, difficulty breathing, a wheeze and occasionally a rash.

There is no vaccine for enterovirus, so the best way to prevent it is by using good hygiene, hand-washing practices and avoid sharing utensils.

Starting Wednesday, Promedica is issuing a temporary visitor advisory, meaning anyone with symptoms of this virus should not visit their loved ones in the hospital to prevent the virus from spreading.

Shaleeah Jackson-O'Banner's 10 month-old son Ryan has a respiratory illness, which could be the Enterovirus, she brought him to Toledo Hospital's emergency room on Wednesday afternoon.

"Because he had to have a breathing treatment and some steroids to help open up his lungs," said Jackson-O'Banner. When asked if it was scary watching her son so sick Shaleeah says 'Of course, especially when they're this little because they can't tell you 'I can't breathe or my chest hurts.''

"These things tend to spread very easily. They are very contagious and so person to person transmission is how one person transmits it to the other through respiratory secretions and air droplets and close contact," said Toledo Hospital Emergency Room Medical Director Brian Kaminski.

Kaminski says they are just operating as they would when there's a flu outbreak.

"We know that we have people presenting with the exact same signs and symptoms as the children in Columbus, we can naturally assume and understand that it is in our area and start instituting the necessary precautions," said Kaminski.

There is no treatment for the virus, only measures to make patients feel more comfortable. Because there is no clear treatment, doctors at Promedica are not testing for the virus.

"If we were able to do the test and if the test was rapid enough test turn around that we would know the results of the test immediately, we still really wouldn't do anything differently. We would just treat it supportively, with supportive care and whether we knew you did or didn't have this strain of enterovirus" said Kaminski.

ProMedica might also install morestringent visitor restrictions to the maternity ward, neonatal ICU, andhematology and oncology.

"Patients that are being treated with cancer are usually at highrisk for any kind of infection because their immune systems are compromised andso they're kind of the last group that we'd want to put at risk," Dr. Kaminskisaid.

Doctor David Grossman from the Lucas County Health Department says the only reason testing should be done is if hospitals see a major increase in cold like symptoms, to prevent an epidemic.

As of Wednesday, 30 to 40 percent of the children coming into the ER at Toledo Hospital were having respiratory problems, a sign that the virus isn't slowing down yet. The temporary visitation advisory will remain in place until cases go down.

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