PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS/AP) — The Rhode Island health department announced Wednesday that a 10-year-old girl has died from a staph infection associated with the enterovirus D68, a respiratory virus that has been affecting children across the country.
At a news conference in Providence, health officials said Emily Otrando of Cumberland died last week, shortly after she was rushed to the hospital for shortness of breath.READ MORE: Business Booming At Auto Repair Shops Due To Lack Of New Cars
Otrando did not have health problems, authorities said, calling it a “perfect storm,” a rare, isolated combination of a staph infection and enterovirus.
Department spokeswoman Christina Batastini said there have been no deaths in Rhode Island directly attributed to enterovirus D68.
Parents say they were initially told by Otrando’s school that there were no concerns about enterovirus d68 following her death.
In a letter sent to parents, the Cumberland School Department said it was told by the Department of Public Health on Monday “in very straight and clear terms that this was NOT the Enterovirus,” and relayed that message to parents. On Wednesday, the school was told by public health officials that the death was in fact from an infection associated with enterovirus D68.
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“When I contacted the Department of Health for answers as to why we were misinformed, I was told, ‘it did not appear to be the Entrovirus and from a clinical perspective it did not present as the Enterovirus,'” Cumberland Superintendent Phil Thornton said in the letter.
The school system said it will take extra precautions to make sure classrooms and school buildings are clean.READ MORE: Red Line Train Derails At Broadway MBTA Station
Mild cases of the EV-D68 infection can cause fever, runny nose and coughs but severe ones can lead to difficulty breathing.
The strain isn’t new but it’s rarely seen.
“We are all heartbroken to hear about the death of one of Rhode Island’s children,” Michael Fine, M.D., Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health said in a statement.
“Many of us will have EV-D68. Most of us will have very mild symptoms and all but very few will recover quickly and completely. The vast majority of children exposed to EV-D68 recover completely.”
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