A rare, late-summer virus is particulary nasty this year. It's called HEV68 and it's sent at least 300 children to Children's Hospital in Dayton for treatment. AT CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER SINCE AUGUST.

Nasty virus affecting hundreds of area children

So far, a virus genetically related to rhinovirus has been diagnosed in 300 children in the Dayton area since Aug. 1. The symptoms are very much like an intense cold. There is no cure for these types of illnesses. The Medical Director for Dayton Children's Medical Center told our reporter they are waiting on results from the Centers for Disease Control for full confirmation that the local cases are the HEV-68 virus.

Across the nation, hundreds of children in about a dozen states have been sickened by the severe respiratory illness that public health officials suspect may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold.

Nearly 500 children have been treated at one hospital alone -- Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri -- and some required intensive care, according to authorities.

The suspected germ, enterovirus 68, is an uncommon strain of a very common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through the fall.

The virus can cause mild coldlike symptoms but this summer's cases are unusually severe, said Mark Pallansch, director of the viral diseases division at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

``It's not highly unusual but we're trying to understand what happened this year in terms of these noticeable and much larger clusters of severe respiratory disease,'' Pallansch said Monday.

The virus typically causes illness lasting about a week and most children recover with no lasting problems.

Children with asthma and other health problems are especially at risk, but reported cases include children without asthma who have developed asthmalike breathing problems, Pallansch said. He said no deaths have been reported in the outbreak.

Bill Wharton of Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County, says the best prevention is hand washing.

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