Health Officials Report First Death With Possible Link To EV-D68

Oct 1, 2014

A child from Rhode Island has died from a combination of infections, including enterovirus D68, or EV-D68. It’s one of the first known deaths with some kind of link to EV-D68. What role the respiratory virus played in the child’s death is still unclear.

Rhode Island Dept. of Health director Dr. Michael Fine speaks to reporters Wednesday morning about the child's death.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The 10-year-old girl from Cumberland came home short of breath. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. And within 24 hours she was gone. The official cause of death was sepsis, which happens when the body has an overwhelming response to a bacterial infection. In this case, a staph infection. But Rhode Island Department of Health director Dr. Michael Fine says tests have also confirmed the presence of enterovirus 68 or EV-D68.

“There clearly is a link, but we’re not sure what the meaning of the link is," said Fine. "So, viral cultures showed the presence of enterovirus D68, but the cause of death was really the staph[ylococcus] aureus sepsis.”

Fine says the combination was a rare but perfect storm. Both staph and EV-D68 infections are common, but not together. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reviewing this case.

Fine says you can take the same precautions against EV-D68 as you would against the flu, including washing hands and avoiding contact with sick people.