Respiratory virus infections rise throughout the Midwest

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COLUMBIA - Several states in the Midwest, including Missouri, have reported significant rises in respiratory virus infections, particularly in children.

Enterovirus 68 sent hundreds of children in the Kansas City area to hospitals. Some had to go to the intensive care units. 

Enterovirus 68 is difficult to identify because of its similarities to the common cold. 

The director of the University of Missouri's Infection Control Department, Michael Cooperstock, said Columbia has not seen cases that required testing for virus.

"We haven't sent a single one for this particular Enterovirus," Cooperstock said. "What we do for the sicker kids is we do an expensive screening test to see what virus is there and that will tell you, oh, this test is positive. It's in the ballpark."

Cooperstock said most children are capable of passing the virus without too much trouble. He said it is unusual for a rise in the infection this time of year.

"The Enterovirus is kind of unique because they come year in and year out," Cooperstock said." They come about July, peak in August or September and then by October the rates have gone down by half and then November they're already gone."

Cooperstock said he believes this epidemic will follow the same track and that it will most likely be gone in a month or two. 

He suggested using common sense to avoid contracting and spreading the disease, such as staying away from sick people, washing your hands and not sending sick children to school. 

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