AMHERST – While no cases have been reported, health officials are continuing to be vigilant for a nasty respiratory virus that has hospitalized children in the United States and other parts of Canada.
“Whenever there’s a clustering of a virus like this one of our public health role is to do surveillance. It’s something we’re definitely going to keep an eye on,” the northern region’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Ryan Sommers said. “As of now we still haven’t seen any cases of this virus in our area or the province.”
Sommers said there are different types of enterovirus in circulation at any given time. This type, EV-D68, has actually been around since 1962 and hasn’t been that common because most older people have developed an immunity to it.
Sommers said these types of viruses tend to show up in the late summer and fall and he said there isn’t an immediate cause for concern. He said parents should keep an eye on their children, especially if they have asthma or other respiratory problems. If they get sick and have difficulty breathing they should contact their family doctor as soon as possible.
He also cautioned this illness should not be confused with influenza. The flu season typically stretches from November into the spring. It’s too early to determine what kind of flu season is ahead.
“The big thing from a public health point of view is to focus on things like good hand hygiene. It’s comes down to warm water and soap and two wash for at least 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday to yourself twice,” Sommers said.
If someone is sick the best advice he can give is to stay home and recover.