PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two area schools notified parents Thursday they had students with confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68, or EV68.

Turns out, these actually weren’t confirmed cases, but children who were being evaluated as possible cases.

“We have sent a number of samples already from Children’s Hospital and we are waiting to hear back. I will not be surprised if in fact Enterovirus 68 is here in southwest Pennsylvania,” says Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker. “At this point, there’s over 10 or 11 samples that have been sent on different children.”

The Bethel Park School District was acting on information it believed was reliable, but it was not from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is the confirming laboratory.

“In talking with the superintendent, the information came from the family, and the school took that as a confirmation,” said Dr. Hacker.

This virus can cause severe respiratory illness and has sickened children across the nation.

“Most of the samples are coming from kids in intensive care units who presented with wheezing,” says Dr. Hacker.

Because so many samples from all over the country are being sent to the CDC in Atlanta for testing, it’s not known when the results might come back.

“We’ve been told a week, 10 days, but it could be longer than that,” she says.

Confirmed or not, everyone should still keep surfaces clean, use good cough etiquette, and wash your hands.
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Because of the prevalence of this virus, it’s probably just a matter of time before a case is confirmed in our area. Once the CDC verifies EV-D68, it will contact the state health department, which will contact the county health department. Then the information goes to the hospitals and patients.

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Dr. Maria Simbra