HAMILTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday night that Enterovirus D68 was involved in the death of a 4-year-old boy in Hamilton, New Jersey last week.
Health officials said the 4-year-old who attended the Yardville Elementary School in Hamilton, New Jersey for pre-school died early Thursday, Sept. 28, at home.
“Our thoughts remain with the family at this very difficult time,” New Jersey State Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a news release. “While the child has tested positive for EV-D68, the cause of death has not yet been determined and it is unclear if EV-D68 played a direct role or was a contributing factor in his death.”
Health officials took precautions after Eli’s death.
“I just thought it was prudent, along with superintendent, to clean and sanitize that child’s classroom, just as a preventative measure; as a calming measure,” said Hamilton Township Health Officer Jeff Plunkett. “We try to protect everyone, just in case it was a respiratory virus.”
Students were moved out of the classroom and into another location for their lessons.
Health officials said while they do not want parents to be alarmed, they do want them to be on the lookout for symptoms that go along with the respiratory virus.
“The symptoms that they need to look out for would be the normal flulike symptoms – coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever,” Plunkett said. “If there’s there is additional asthma or underlying conditions, certainly that would add to it.”
New Jersey health officials also confirmed Friday night that another child in Middlesex County had contracted Enterovirus D68. So far, New Jersey has nine confirmed cases of the virus in Camden, Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Essex, Passaic and Sussex counties.
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.
Health officials also suggest parents call their physician if a child shows symptoms of the respiratory virus.
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