ShareThis Page

Virus found at South Butler Primary School

| Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, 6:09 p.m.

An “identified case” of enterovirus D68 has been found at South Butler Primary School, according to the South Butler School District.

The virus can cause severe respiratory illness in children. It can cause coughing, wheezing and rashes with fever; it can pose a severe risk for those with asthma or other breathing problems.

Doctors said most infected people recover from breathing trouble and other flu-like symptoms within a couple of days.

“We really don't treat it any differently from other viruses” that appear in late summer and early fall, said Dr. Howard Nadworny, an infectious disease physician at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie.

A South Butler spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment. A letter dated Thursday to parents and students from Superintendent Michael Leitera does not indicate the age, gender or grade level of the child diagnosed.

The letter states that, as a precaution, the district is cleaning all classroom and athletic facilities with a virucide known to be an effective disinfectant.

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania health authorities reported that four cases of enterovirus had been identified in Philadelphia, the first in the state.

Pittsburgh-based UPMC spotted eight potential D68 cases in its hospitals over the past two weeks but has yet to receive test results, spokeswoman Allison Hydzik said.

The virus turned up in 18 states since mid-August and caused at least 153 confirmed illnesses, many of them in children, according to the national Centers for Disease Control, based in Atlanta.

Doctors in the Midwest and other regions blame the virus for sickening hundreds of children and teenagers, some of whom have required intensive care.

The bug is part of the larger enterovirus family that cause 10 million to 15 million infections each year in the United States, often in the late spring and fall seasons.

Nadworny said he suspects many children are coming down with milder D68 cases that go undiagnosed.

He said there's no vaccine or treatment apart from old stand-bys: plenty of fluids, cough medicine and time.

He urged common hygiene and vaccination against a more widespread — and more severe — illness: influenza.

“Many more kids will get sick from the flu this winter, and it's preventable,” Nadworny said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer, Adam Smeltz and Luis Fábregas are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Rittmeyer can be reached at or 724-226-4701; Smeltz at or 412-380-5676 and Fábregas at or 412-320-7998.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me