Health officials in the Roaring Fork Valley say they’re not worried about a severe respiratory illness making the rounds in Denver and other states. Doctors in Denver have treated thousands of patients, some of them confirmed cases of a rare virus called Enterovirus D68 (or EV-D68).
As of Wednesday afternoon, representatives of Eagle and Pitkin counties said they were not aware of any cases. Garfield County reported one case, but then said there wasn't enough information from Valley View Hospital to confirm. Requests to Valley View on Thursday were unanswered.
Health care providers are not normally required to report the virus, which can act similar to the common cold, but Pitkin County’s public health office is now asking doctors and nurses to be in touch if they see something unusual.
Director at Community Health Services Liz Stark said Wednesday the Department had sent out information that asked medical providers “to report clusters of illness, so we hope that our medical community will inform us of any activity related to this outbreak.”
Also on Wednesday, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a Health Alert Network Broadcast on Wednesday about Enterovirus D68, which has popped up in about a dozen states in the last week. The Colorado Department Public Health and Environment reportedly told health care providers there is “an increase in pediatric viral respiratory illness.”
Garfield County said Wednesday the one possible case there was not cause for alarm. Neither Pitkin nor Eagle Counties have seen any cases as of late Wednesday. Kids with asthma are more at risk for the virus, and Colorado’s health department issued a statement Monday saying “Clinicians also should be promptly and aggressively begin treatment in patients with asthma who begin to show early signs and symptoms of an asthma exacerbation. The agency also says doing the following can help people avoid catching the virus:
· Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
· Avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoiding kissing, hugging, and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are sick.
· Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
· Making sure vaccinations, including the influenza vaccine, are up to date.