Enterovirus D68 Prompts Hospital Wards to Ban Child Visitors

Hospitals are taking steps to prevent visitors from spreading enterovirus D68.

— -- Several hospitals have banned children from visiting patients amid fears of a respiratory virus that has sent some children to the hospital gasping for breath.

Hospitals in upstate New York –- including SUNY Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse -– are the latest to restrict young visitors as Enterovirus D68 spreads primarily among children nationwide. State health departments have reported possible cases in 27 states, and experts say the virus likely infected thousands.

"Frequently during periods when particularly contagious viruses are spreading in communities, hospitals implement restrictions on visitations by children," Besser said.

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Hospitals are also restricting people who are sick -- with perhaps a cough or a cold -- from visiting these wards.

The CDC has officially confirmed only 130 enterovirus D68 cases in 12 states, but experts say this number probably doesn't reflect the scope of the outbreak as a whole. Since the CDC does not require hospitals or state labs to report enterovirus D68 cases, and many state health departments are unable to test for it, experts say the reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg. New Jersey became the 27th state to announce possible enterovirus D68 cases.