Virus Striking Children Across the Country, More Than 1,000 in the Hospital

Mysterious, rare and scary virus starts off like a cold but can turn deadly, children under 5 at risk.
2:46 | 09/08/14

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Transcript for Virus Striking Children Across the Country, More Than 1,000 in the Hospital
And we do begin with that fast-moving headline. The new and growing concern over a mysterious virus. Rare, powerful and striking children across this nation. More than 1,000 in the hospital already. Some hooked up to oxygen masks. Tonight, the CDC says this is worsening and that the virus is moving fast. And just look at the map. 11 states and counting and now the CDC warning this could be just the beginning. Your questions are pouring in, so, what are the symptoms and how can you keep your children safe? Dr. Richard Besser standing by, but first tonight, ABC's linsey Davis on the outbreak. Reporter: With emergency rooms timing up, the CDC tonight saying this dangerous situation is evolving quickly. 13-year-old will was so scared, he says he thought he was going to do. Hi heart started hurting after my lungs sort of closing up. Reporter: Will is finally back at home after spending four nights in intensive care at a Denver hospital. In that city alone, at least 900 children believed infected by the potentially fatal enterovirus 68. We were hysterical because we thought they were going to come in and tell us that he was dead. It felt so tight, like you were sort of gasping for air. Reporter: This mysterious respiratory illness, so intense, Kansas City, Missouri, at one point sending at least 30 children a day to the hospital. About 15% of them are winding up in intensive care. Have you ever seen anything like this? I don't think so. What's different about this is the unusual number of cases and the unusual severity of infection over a very short period of time. Reporter: This bug is highly contagious. Sneeze or call can spread it. And it can live on surfaces. That's what has parents worried with kidding heading back to school. It starts out like a common cold. Sunny nose, coughing, sneezing and Pfeifer but can turn much more dire with children losing consciousness and having difficulty breathing. As for will, he's just relieved to be breathing easier tonight. Linsey Davis, ABC news. Linsey, thank you. I want to bring in Dr. Richard Besser. We heard it from linsey there, but what are the warning signs? Reporter: Look for signs of any difficulty breathing. Wheezing, difficulty breathing and difficulty speaking. That can be a sign that your child's in trouble, in particular children who have asthma. Millions of children are back to school. So, what are parents to do? Reporter: Well, you can't eliminate the risk, but good hand washing will help. Covering coughs and sneezes. And keeping your child home if they are sick. That will help the spread to others. But I think we're going to be talking about this in more than 11 states. Rich, thank you. Zble we move onto night to the

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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