CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The enterovirus plaguing 22 states throughout the Midwest has entered West Virginia with four confirmed cases in Greenbrier, Wirt and Wood counties, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said Monday.
The virus, named Enterovirus EV-D68, is an uncommon strain of the common cold and causes respiratory inflammation, fever, runny nose, sneezing and coughing as well as muscle and body aches. It is especially severe for those with asthma or a history of wheezing. It mostly affects children under the age of 5, but older children and teenagers can catch it as well.
While enteroviruses are common, with 10 to 15 million infections occurring each year, this strain has hardly been seen until recently — there have been fewer than 100 reported cases in the past 50 years.
While the strain is rare, Dr. Letita Tierney, state health officer and commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health, said confirmation of its spread to West Virginia is not surprising.
Since mid-August, 160 people in 22 states have become ill. That number is increasing as the virus continues to spread across the country with purported cases reaching as far west as California and as far east as Massachusetts. West Virginia is the latest state to have confirmed cases.
In a press release, the bureau said specimens from 32 counties were tested by the CDC. Samples were taken from sick people in Calhoun, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mercer, Raleigh, Wirt and Wood counties, but a bureau representative said the virus is so far contained to Greenbrier, Wirt and Wood counties…