Hospitals in Hannibal, Mo., and Quincy, Ill., have both restricted visitors because of an outbreak of virus infections.

Hospitals in Hannibal, Mo., and Quincy, Ill., have both restricted visitors because of an outbreak of virus infections.

Hannibal Regional Hospital on Tuesday, Sept. 2, announced that due to the recent outbreaks of enterovirus infections in Missouri and Illinois, the hospital’s health officials have requested that children age 16 and under - and people with any of a list of symptoms - refrain from visiting hospital patients until further notice. The symptoms listed by HRH are: fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, mouth blisters, body and muscle aches and a rash.

At Blessing Hospital in Quincy, children under the age of 12 are restricted from visiting hospital patients until further notice, due to the outbreak of a respiratory virus among youngsters in the region.

Blessing reported the outbreak hit hard over the Labor Day holiday weekend, with more than 70 children going to the Blessing Emergency Center with breathing difficulties. Seven were admitted for treatment of the as-yet-unidentified virus.

Blessing Hospital is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to identify the virus affecting area children.

Robert Merrick, MD, epidemiologist at Blessing, said  it could be the same virus that hit St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., last week.  That outbreak was caused by HEV68, a respiratory infection that affects mainly children.

 The Blessing staff will assess the situation daily and announce when the visiting restriction for children under the age of 12 is lifted.

Kansas City,

St. Louis report

enterovirus outbreak

The enterovirus outbreak that necessitated local hospitals to restrict young visitors has also been reported in metro areas including St. Louis and Kansas City.

Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City reported it had treated hundreds of children for a respiratory illness.

The hospital reported it has been seeing about 30 new patients a day with enterovirus 68, with a total of about 450 cases as of Tuesday. The virus hits children with underlyng conditions such as asthma harder than others and has resulted in about 15 percent of the cases being placed in intensive care. However, most patients are simply urged to stay hydrated and sent home.

On Monday, Sept. 1, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued a health alert, reporting the outbreak in Kansas City. It also stated the St. Louis area was experiencing an increase in pediatric respiratory illnesses, and many specimens from those cases have tested positive for enterovirus. Further testing for this specific virus type was pending.

No deaths had been reported due to EV-68 in Missouri, according to the DHSS report, which included the following details:

There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. While most enterovirus infection are mild or asymptomatic, some can be serious.

Most enterovirus infections in the U.S. occur seasonally during the summer and fall, and outbreaks of tend to occur in several-year cycles. EV-D68 infections occur less commonly than those with other enteroviruses. EV-D68, like other enteroviruses, appears to spread through close contact with infected people. EV-D68 has been associated almost exclusively with respiratory disease.

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections; and there are no anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose.

Some details in this article were provided by the Associated Press and the website