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October 3, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed seven cases of enterovirus D68, also known as EV-D68, in New Jersey. EV-D68 can result in severe illness, particularly in children.

The virus can cause difficulty in breathing, sneezing, fever, muscle aches, and in rare cases, death. It can require hospitalization -- particularly among those with impaired immune systems or asthma.

The seven cases in New Jersey are children, ages 1 through 9, located in Burlington, Camden, Morris, Essex, Camden, and Sussex counties. All children are recovering and have been released from the hospital.

Symptoms of the virus range from mild sneezing, cough, and aches and fever to more severe wheezing and difficulty breathing. Children with asthma are at particular risk for severe symptoms.

The state Department of Health is advising parents to ensure frequent hand washing and to avoid close contact such as sharing utensils or hugging anyone who is sick. The department warns that hand sanitizers are not effective against enteroviruses. It also advises a flu shot, although there is no specific vaccine or medication for enterovirus infections.

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