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Rare Virus Spreading Could Hit Locally

A serious and rare respiratory illness has sickened nearly one thousand children in at least ten states.

The suspected virus is called Enterovirus 68.

It’s an uncommon strain of a very common virus which strikes from summertime through fall.

The virus starts off with cold-like symptoms, but can take a turn for the worse causing difficulty breathing and respiratory distress.

Doctor William Meller of the Med Center in Santa Barbara says it’s just a matter of time until it comes to California.

“It’s definitely going to come here. I mean these viruses recognize no boundaries. They travel wherever people travel,” Meller said.

The most vulnerable are children under five and those with asthma.

Meller says if a child with a cold develops breathing problems, they should see a doctor immediately.

Most children are recovering from this virus without lasting problems.

There is no anti-viral therapy or vaccine yet.

Doctors are reminding people about the importance of washing hands and covering your mouth when you cough.

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