Respiratory virus now hitting teens in Windsor

Windsor Regional Hospital officials say it’s now treating teenagers suffering from a respiratory virus.
Windsor hospital officials say they are also treating teenagers for a respiratory virus after seeing a spike in children. (Aadel Haleem/CBC News)

Windsor Regional Hospital officials say it’s now treating teenagers suffering from a respiratory illness

Hospital spokesperson Ron Foster said there are 20 patients, most under the age of five, currently admitted to hospital and being treated for a respiratory virus that could be enterovirus D-68. On Monday the hospital was treating 11 patients.

The number of patients is causing the hospital another problem.

According to Foster the number of children in hospital with respiratory illnesses climbs in September, when school is back in session. But he said that doesn't account for the growing number of patients with the respiratory virus.

"We are seeing numbers that are a little higher than usual at this time of year. So there's a bit of concern, yes. Volume is a challenge for us in the department. We are pretty close to capacity," said Foster in reference to the pediatric ward. 

Enterovirus D68 has already spread to 10 U.S. states and sent hundreds of children to hospital.

The respiratory virus has made at least 18 children ill in Alberta, although it's still unknown if it's the same as the D68 strain causing the outbreaks in the U.S..

Windsor Regional Hospital is awaiting test results to see if the virus affecting children in Windsor is, in fact, enterovirus D-68. Foster said it could be more than a week before results are known.

The treatment plan remains the same in Windsor, which includes oxygen treatment or aerosol medication, Foster said.

Children, particularly those under five years old and who have respiratory troubles, such as allergies or asthma, are more at risk.

Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches, according to CDC. 

Foster urged parents with sick children to keep a close eye on their condition.

"If your child is looking at signs that are increasing certainly seek their physician out or pediatrian or bring them to the emergency room," he said.