On Saturday, state officials announced the death of a 21-month-old girl. She passed away in Detroit, only one day earlier, after having fallen victim to the Enterovirus D68 which caused serious respiratory illness across the country. The toddler, Madeline Reid, has been struggling for her life since the middle of September. She was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan from Detroit Medical Center where she was put on life support. She was moved from one hospital to the other on September 21. The Enterovirus D68, which is particularly dangerous for children, has been identified in 45 states.
“It is never easy to lose a child and our entire health care team is deeply saddened by this family’s loss and mourns with them through this very difficult time.” – Dr. Rudolph Valentini, chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital of Michigan
The family has requested privacy as it grieves for the lost daughter. In the meanwhile, a New Jersey state examiner declared that, last week, a 4-year-old boy also died because of the virus. The CDC also mentioned that five people infected with the Enterovirus D68 passed away. However, it is still unclear what role the virus played in their passing. Official reports say that a total of 691 people across 45 states had fallen ill. Starting with October, at least 25 cases were confirmed in Michigan.
Researchers from the University of Michigan are working on a Web-based tool that they hope, will make it easier for doctors to track the disease. The new software is scheduled to presented on Saturday at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference, in San Diego.
“For example, if certain child care centers are reporting the beginning of stomach flu (vomiting and diarrhea), other centers can start taking steps to thoroughly clean to kill any viruses before symptoms occur or before a major outbreak takes place.” – Andrew Hashikawa, pediatric emergency physician, University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
According to medics, children under the age of five are most susceptible to the virus, and they become sick earlier and more frequently than other kids or adults because they have underdeveloped immune systems. They are also the primary reason why the disease spreads to other members of the community. However, public health departments discovered that public school class skipping cannot be considered a precise marker for illness.
‘However, child care or preschool absences are typically more likely to be associated with illness and most young children continue to need child care for most of the year.” – Hashikawa
In the U-M systems, data for illnesses and symptoms is written down in seven categories for preschoolers: fever, influenza-like illness, stomach illness, pink eye, respiratory symptoms, cold symptoms, ear infections and rash. Other fields include daily attendance at the center, action taken, age range etc.
“Preliminary data suggest that using the online biosurveillance in child care centers and preschools gives us an earlier detection and warning system because the younger children appeared to become sick first compared to middle school and high school aged children within the community,” says Hashikawa