NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York State Department of Health says enterovirus D68 is spreading across the state and is warning New Yorkers to take steps to prevent new infections.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have all confirmed cases of the virus, which is spread through contact with an infected person or via contaminated surfaces.

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Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, aches and wheezing.

It can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Health officials say asthmatic children are especially vulnerable.

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“EV-D68 has spread across the state. New Yorkers must take precautions to protect children, especially those who are immune-compromised or have asthma and other respiratory problems, from getting the virus,” acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our partners at the CDC and local health departments to ensure that all New Yorkers have the information they need to prevent infection.”

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Health officials say enteroviruses are common, but the strain of D68 is less common.

There are no specific treatments for the virus, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and others:

– Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
– Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
– Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

There have been 213 lab-confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 in 30 states since mid-August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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