The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed Friday that a four-year-old Hamilton boy who died at his home last week tested positive for Enterovirus D68.
“Our thoughts remain with the family at this very difficult time,” New Jersey State Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a press release about the testing. “While the child has tested positive for EV-D68, the cause of death has not yet been determined and it is unclear if EV-D68 played a direct role or was a contributing factor in his death.”
The CDC results will be forwarded to the Mercer County Medical Examiner for appropriate additional testing as deemed necessary by the medical examiner.
Infants, children and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses due to their lack of immunity from previous exposure to these viruses. Although adults can get infected with enterovirus, they are more likely to have milder symptoms. There are no vaccines or antiviral medications for preventing EV-D68 infections.
“It is important that the general public continues to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by frequent hand washing with soap and water, avoiding close contact with sick people, coughing into their elbows or a tissue, proper disposal of tissues and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces,” Hamilton Township officials told residents in an alert that was sent out late Friday night. “Anyone who is sick should contact their healthcare provider and remain home from school or work. It is important that anyone who has increased respiratory difficulty or symptoms that appear to be worsening, should contact their healthcare provider.”
It is also recommended that children and adults take advantage of the influenza vaccine to help prevent the influenza virus this season.
The Hamilton Township Call Center (609-586-0311) will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 4, to answer residents’ questions.
The 4-year-old boy attended Yardville Elementary School. New Jersey has nine confirmed cases of the virus in Camden, Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Essex, Passaic and Sussex counties.