New Jersey Preschooler Went to Bed 'Fine' Before Dying From Enterovirus 68

A 4-year-old preschooler from New Jersey has reportedly died from the respiratory disease enterovirus 68. This heartbreaking incident marks the first time the frightening illness, which has rapidly spread among several states, has been directly blamed for a child's death.

Eli Waller went to bed on the night of September 24 feeling just fine, according to his parents. The following morning, his poor parents discovered their precious child had died -- though it took weeks to uncover the reason he never woke up.

Health officials say Eli had asthma, but that "he had no other existing condition." The onset of enterovirus 68 was rapid and sudden -- and his parents didn't even have a chance to seek treatment for him.

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Right now, experts say they have no idea where Eli may have contracted the disease. One other boy from his elementary school is being tested for enterovirus at a local hospital, but there isn't one single confirmed case in a town of 90,000 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which identified 538 confirmed cases of the diseases in 43 states and the District of Columbia, believes there is no reason to think additional people won't experience symptoms in the New Jersey town.

A medical examiner in Mercer County confirmed that Eli's brain and lymph node swelling was a result of the dangerous strain.

More from The Stir: Enterovirus vs. Cold vs. Allergies: How to Tell Which Your Kid Is Suffering From

Other children have fallen seriously ill and one died recently from complications that may have resulted from the disease, but doctors haven't blamed enterovirus 68, specifically.

In Rhode Island, a 10-year-old girl died last week from a combination of bacterial and viral infections "associated with" enterovirus 68. And, in Colorado, CDC and health experts are attempting to figure out whether limb weakness and paralysis in nine children is a result of enterovirus 68.

Are you take preventative measures to ensure your child doesn't contract enterovirus 68?

 

Image via Dr. Farouk/Flickr

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