As you know, over the past week there have been some cases of children in the state of Connecticut who have been exhibiting symptoms of the Enterovirus D68 (EVD68). As of September 17th the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and State Department of Public Health confirmed one positive case. The child who tested positive was admitted, treated and released from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. I have discussed the situation with our District Nursing Coordinator, District Medical Director and the Connecticut River Area Health District (CRAHD).
For most people the symptoms and severity of EVD68 have been mild. However, EVD68 and influenza can be easily spread from person-to-person. Therefore, we are taking steps to reduce the spread of EVD68 and flu in our schools. Although we have not yet seen any cases of flu, our goal is to keep the schools open to students and functioning in a normal manner during this current clusters of EVD68 in Connecticut and other parts of the country. But we need your help to accomplish this.
There are important actions that you can implement now to help keep you, your child, and family well during the flu season. Here are a few things you can do to maintain good health.
§ Emphasize to your children that they wash their hands often and thoroughly with soap and water.
§ Teach your children not to share personal items such as beverages, food or unwashed utensils, and to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, their elbow, arm or sleeve instead of their hands.
§ Encourage your children to eat well, exercise, enjoy fresh air daily, drink fluids, and get plenty of sleep.
§ Mild symptoms of the EVD68 may or may not include fever, runny nose sneezing, cough and body or muscle aches. EVD68 is respiratory in nature.
§ Most of the children who have become very ill across the country with EVD68, had difficulty breathing and some had wheezing. Many of these children had a history of asthma or wheezing.
§ Know the signs and symptoms of the EVD68 and flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and fatigue. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea.
§ Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or do not have signs of a fever, without using fever-reducing medicine.
§ Please do not send children to school if they are ill. If a child becomes ill while at school, you will be contacted and asked to take your child home.
The CDC (www.cdc.gov) will be the primary site to obtain the most current information about the EVD68 outbreak as well as the State Department of Public Health website. We will also post information on the Region 4 Public Schools website www.region4schools.com.
We continue to work closely with the State Department of Public Health and the Connecticut River Area Health District to monitor EVD68 and flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our schools. We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available.
Thank you for your cooperation and vigilance in maintaining good hygienic practices and in keeping your children home if they exhibit EVD68 and flu-like symptoms. We appreciate your assistance. If you have additional questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school nurse, (your medical director) or Sherry Carlson at CRAHD 860-661-3300, or me.