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Respiratory illness strikes hundreds of KC-area kids

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 | 5:12 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — A Kansas City pediatric hospital has treated hundreds of young children for a respiratory illness that has symptoms similar to a common cold that more typically is seen during winter months.

Children's Mercy Hospital spokesman Jake Jacobson says the facility has been seeing about 30 new patients a day who have been sickened by human enterovirus 68, with a total of about 450 cases as of Tuesday.

While the virus hits children with underlying conditions such as asthma harder than others and has resulted in about 15 percent of the cases being placed in intensive care, most patients are simply urged to stay hydrated and sent home.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a health alert saying St. Louis hospitals also have seen an increase in pediatric respiratory illnesses.

Columbia Public Schools is not seeing large numbers of absences because of illness, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said Tuesday afternoon.


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