New virus has many parents worried sick - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New virus has many parents worried sick

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Flu season is just around the corner, but a different virus -- that mostly targets children -- is already making the rounds and keeping doctors busy.

Will Cornejo's lips were blue and he was drifting in and out of consciousness.. The Denver teen has a confirmed case of Enterovirus 68, and the virus may now have spread to San Diego.

"We've seen a little cluster in our intensive care unit that we are suspecting, but we still do not have confirmation," infectious disease physician Dr. Alice Pong said.

At least three children at Rady Children's Hospital are currently being tested for this strain of the Enterovirus, which in some patients, can make breathing very difficult.

"As a parent, what you would look for would be young child struggling to breathe, and the skin above the clavicles would sink in as they're breathing," Dr. Stuart Breisch said.

Breisch says the virus tends to hit kids from 6 months to 16 years, and the rest of the symptoms are indistinguishable from a common cold, but children with pre-existing lung issues like asthma may end up in the hospital for several days.

The key to avoiding getting sick is the same as any illness: good hygiene.

"Washing the hands. Same thing with any kind of infectious disease -- the flu, pink eye. You never touch your mucus membranes, eyes, nose, mouth, without washing your hands first," Breisch said.

So far, there are more than 80 confirmed cases of Enterovirus 68 in six states, and at least seven other states sent samples to the CDC for testing.

Doctors say it will probably get worse before it gets better, with the virus expected to stick around until our weather changes, probably in October.

So in the meantime, you're asked to do your part to help keep this bad situation from getting worse.

"Don't go to school if you're sick. Keep your children home if they're ill," Pong said.

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