A 21-month-old girl has died from enterovirus D68, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit told the Associated Press Saturday. She was the first person in Michigan to die from the virus, also called EV-D68.
Enterovirus D68 has spread across the country, causing severe respiratory illness that poses a lethal threat, especially to small children. Madeline Reid had been on life support since mid-September and died Friday, the Detroit Free Press reported. The illness was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It is never easy to lose a child, and our entire health care team at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan is deeply saddened by this family‘s loss and mourns with them during this very difficult time,” Dr. Rudolph Valentini, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. The child was transferred from Detroit Medical Center to the to Children’s Hospital Sept. 21.
Enterovirus D68 presents with flu-like symptoms and breathing problems. It spreads through coughing, sneezing and contact with contaminated surfaces. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for the virus — medical workers can only treat its symptoms.
A 4-year-old New Jersey boy died last week. The CDC said five Americans infected with enterovirus D68 have died. It has infected 691 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia.