Monday, September 8, 2014

Respiratory virus suspected in Midwest children's hospitalizations

By Michael Martinez and John Newsome, CNN

updated 10:12 PM EDT, Sat September 6, 2014
CNN) -- A respiratory virus is sending hundreds of children to hospitals in Missouri and possibly throughout the Midwest and beyond, officials say.
The virus causes symptoms like a cold, except worse, and is prompting up to 30 children a day to seek care at one Kansas City hospital, where about 15% of the youngsters were placed in intensive care, officials said.
In a sign of a possible regional outbreak, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio are reporting cases with symptoms similar to the same virus and are awaiting testing results, according to officials and CNN affiliates in those states.
In Kansas City, about 450 children were recently treated at Children's Mercy Hospital, and at least 60 of them received intensive hospitalization, spokesman Jake Jacobson said.
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"It's worse in terms of scope of critically ill children who require intensive care. I would call it unprecedented. I've practiced for 30 years in pediatrics, and I've never seen anything quite like this," said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, the hospital's division director for Infectious Diseases.
"We've had to mobilize other providers, doctors, nurses. It's big," she said.
The Kansas City hospital treats 90% of that area's ill children and noticed an initial spike on August 15, Jackson said.