CDC says physicians observing increase in 'severe respiratory illness' among children

Emergency visits up relative to earlier years, agency says.

Published: September 28, 2022 1:23pm

Updated: September 28, 2022 1:36pm

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention this week said that physicians were observing sharp increases in serious respiratory illnesses among children, with emergency room visits among that demographic reportedly up relative to earlier years. 

The CDC said in a news release on Tuesday that the summer of 2022 saw "increased emergency department visits by children and adolescents with acute respiratory illness and asthma/reactive airway disease." 

The agency said enterovirus D68 was to blame for the increase in respiratory issues. EV-D68 was once rare but infections have been increasing in frequency in recent years.

The CDC said it was also observing an increase in acute flaccid myelitis, which it elsewhere characterizes as "an uncommon but serious neurologic condition" that "affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak."

"Health care facilities should be prepared for possible increases in pediatric health care use associated with severe EV-D68–associated respiratory illness," the agency urged, adding that "ast increases in EV-D68 circulation were also associated with increased reports of AFM."

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