Updated 12:39 AM EDT, Wed, May 12, 2021

Enterovirus D68 Symptoms & Treatment: New Jersey Preschooler's Death Linked to Virus

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What could be the most devastating event for a parent is bidding good night to a child who will no longer wake up in the morning.

Four-year-old Eli Waller, resident of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, seems to be the first case of death confirmed linked to Enterovirus D68. According to New York Daily News, the boy had to stay home from school on Sept. 24 for having a "pink eye."

Health officer Jeff Plunkett said that Eli was observed to be fine. He went to bed okay on the evening.

Unfortunately, he never woke up again.

The officer added that Eli showed no symptoms before his Sept. 25 death. His pink eye was an unrelated case as determined by a Mercer County medical examiner. Plunkett noted, "He was asymptomatic and fine, and the next morning he had passed... The onset was very rapid and very sudden."

A once-student of Yardville Elementary School, Eli may not have acquired the virus alone. MyFoxPhilly reported that school officials are now waiting for the test results of a second child.

Parents were upset about not receiving better communication from the school. Superintendent Dr. James Parla appraised the situation saying, "The communications could have been better, and I agree with that... We said that we would ramp that up."

At this moment, the virus has swept across 43 states and has affected over 500 people. Children predominantly make up this figure.

ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser reassured parents that the virus is relatively mild, despite the seemingly alarming case of Eli. He said in a report, "Parents shouldn't freak out every time their kid gets a cold." The physician added that only a child's history of asthma or wheezing may prompt parents to secure a medical checkup.

Eli's father, Andy Waller, wrote in tribute, "My words probably won't capture him well, but everyone who met Eli knows how he made people feel." Eli was also praised by his dad for his determination to do things.

"Eli was not the type to give up, and even though things never really came easily to him, he would just plug away, day after day, practicing sounds, or movements, or skills, until he would eventually get them," Andy added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed that the virus presents hallmark respiratory symptoms which range from mild to severe. These include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, muscle aches, wheezing and difficulty in breathing.

Transmission of the virus occurs via respiratory secretions. One may also acquire Enterovirus D68 by touching infected surfaces.

Currently, there is no specific treatment to cure EV-D68 infection.

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