HAMILTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday night that a 4-year-old boy who died in Hamilton, New Jersey last week had Enterovirus D68.
As CBS 2’s Diane Macedo reported, preschooler Eli Waller attended Yardville Elementary School in Hamilton, where cleaning crews disinfected his classroom following the boy’s death on Thursday, Sept. 28.
Students were moved out of the classroom and into another location for their lessons.
“I believe our principal is doing everything she can, and it’s just a tragedy,” said parent Fiona Elliott.
Health officials can’t confirm whether the virus caused Waller’s death or whether complications from the virus are to blame.
“The only thing we can do is continue with the prevention efforts that are already in place,” Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede said.
The school district is inviting parents to a meeting Sunday night to further discuss the situation.
Earlier this week, 10-year-old Emily Otrando, of Rhode Island, died from a staph infection associated with Enterovirus D68.
In the Tri-State area, health officials reported nearly two dozen cases in Westchester County, nine in New Jersey, four on Long Island and at least one case in New York City, Macedo reported.
As the children recover, there is growing concern about a possible link between the virus and paralysis.
In Colorado, four children with Enterovirus D68 have shown polio-like symptoms.
“Some of these children are as young as 1 year of age, so it’s difficult to tell whether or not it’s just a weakness or a paralysis,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Health. “We don’t know yet from the doctors at Children’s whether or not this would be reversible or whether or not this is permanent.”
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,” said Hamilton Township Health Officer Jeff Plunkett. “If there’s additional asthma or underlying conditions, certainly that would add to it.”
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.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]