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Parents worry, with no diagnosis of virus that may have led to student’s death

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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

By Samantha Davis


CHASE GOLIGHTLY/CRONKITE NEWS: There is still no word tonight on what respiratory virus killed a first-grader over the weekend. And that has parents in one Valley neighborhood nervous. As Samantha Davis reports, some have even pulled their kids from school.

SAMANTHA DAVIS/CRONKITE NEWS: Cars are driving by, but very few are stopping at Vistancia Elementary today. A first-grade student passed away yesterday from what the Maricopa County Department of Health called a serious respiratory virus. And some fear that the child may have contracted enterovirus D68.

Some members of the Vistancia community left small balloons in memory of the student, but many others stayed far away from the school. Peoria Unified School District public relations representative Erin Dunsey said attendance was very low today as many parents opted to keep their children out of school. She said that there’s been a lot of concern from parents, especially because there has been no official diagnosis.

In a written statement, the Maricopa County Department of Health said that EV-D68 is spread the same way as the common cold and flu. And that parents should teach kids to wash their hands often, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, and to cough and sneeze inside their elbows.

The school offered a crisis intervention team this morning and had disinfected every classroom.

The Peoria Unified School District representative I spoke with said that she hadn’t heard of any other children calling in sick with cold-like symptoms. And the Maricopa County Department of Health said in a written statement that children with asthma are at greater risk of complications from respiratory viruses.

CHASE GOLIGHTLY/CRONKITE NEWS: The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed about 700 cases of the enterovirus nationwide, which is responsible for the deaths of five children.