Schools prepare for the possibility of a dangerous virus hitting Hampton Roads

Posted at 6:46 PM, Sep 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-11 06:11:16-04

Chesapeake, Va. - Chesapeake health officials say schools are the breeding grounds for illnesses like Enterovirus D-68, a severe strain of the cold that has put children from all over the country into hospitals.

"It's the reason for it. It's the reason why you're hearing about it because school has started," Lisa Engle from the Chesapeake Health Department told NewsChannel 3.

So far in Virginia, there hasn't been any officials reports of D-68, but health officials say they've been seeing clusters of kids with severe respiratory viruses, specifically in the southwest and central parts of the state.

Hampton Roads is in the clear so far. CHKD and Sentara aren't seeing anything similar to the virus.

"For the most part what we have seen in Virginia and seeing in other parts of the country they have underlying illnesses and respiratory compromises," Engle says.

But still, Engle tells NewsChannel 3 it's never too early in the year for schools to start taking action, which is why the health department has sent a notice to the State Board of Education. The notice lets them know what to look out for when it comes to D-68.

Chesapeake schools are making sure their nurses know what the symptoms are, but so far they haven't seen anything unusual.

"We have not seen any increase in respiratory illness at all more in adults than children but not even what I would consider at drastic increase at all," Engle added.

On the Peninsula, Hampton schools are taking quick action with a letter they're sending home to parents, letting them know they're monitoring students and symptoms.

As of now, it's a waiting game. There's no telling if the virus will make it's way to Hampton Roads.

"We don't know a lot about this virus. That's what we are finding out," Engle says.