PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Health Department is reporting that there are no confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 in the southwestern Pennsylvania area despite reports earlier from two school districts.
Earlier in the day, the Bethel Park and South Butler School Districts sent home letters to parents about students who had reportedly contracted the respiratory illness.
However, the Health Department now says the report from the Bethel Park School District “was in error, as no cases have been confirmed in Western Pennsylvania by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
In a press release, Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker says: “The Department has been working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since the virus was first reported in the United States. While our Department has worked with local hospitals to forward samples to the CDC for testing, we have not been notified at this time of any confirmed cases.”
Bethel Park Superintendent Nancy Aloi Rose Thursday evening issued a retraction to her earlier letter.
It reads in part: “At the time we received the information earlier today, we believed it to be credible and we acted in good faith to send you the letter regarding what we believed was a potential health risk. We apologize for releasing incorrect information prematurely and that is why we are contacting you as soon as possible with updated and correct information.”
Meanwhile, in the South Butler School District, Superintendent Michael Leitera also sent home a letter to parents Thursday.
Both school districts said they were bringing in cleaning crews to go through their classrooms and athletic facilities.
EV-D68 is a serious respiratory illness that has been affecting mostly young people across the country.
In severe cases it can progress to pneumonia, and rarely, a polio-like paralysis.
It is spread by airborne droplets and on surfaces, similar to the common cold.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment. Basically, the virus has to run its course, and usually the symptoms resolve in one to two weeks.
Your best defense is to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, avoid sharing cups and utensils and close contact with people who are sick, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and door knobs especially if someone is sick.
There are confirmed cases in Pennsylvania, in Erie and Philadelphia.
The CDC says there are 130 confirmed cases in 12 states.
All are children.
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