A young man in B.C. who died after contracting EV-D68 marks the first Canadian fatality linked to the mysterious respiratory virus.
The number of children infected with Enterovirus D68 continues to climb, with more than 160 confirmed cases in Ontario alone. The rare virus is related to the common cold, however, in the most severe cases it can be vicious, with some children suffering unexplained paralysis.
Last month, an 8-year-old Ottawa-area girl was struck down by a viral infection so severe it punctured her lungs and sent air bubbles beneath her skin. When doctors touched her neck, the air bubbles crackled, her mother Caroline Goulard said.
“It was like snap, crackle, pop. They called it Rice Krispies.”
Goulard’s daughter, Danika, spent eight nights in isolation, hooked up to an oxygen mask, at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The previously healthy child now has permanent lung damage and will need an inhaler for the rest of her life.
She was diagnosed with enterovirus, but doctors have yet to confirm which strain was to blame. Goulard has “absolutely no doubt” it was EV-D68.
“Had I known how dangerous this virus was . . . I would have taken her to hospital earlier,” she said. “Parents need to know how severe this is. Danika could have died.”
EV-D68 has infected thousands of kids across North America since mid-August. It is linked to at least seven deaths in the U.S.
The young man who died in B.C. this week was in his 20s.
“This is the first known death associated with EV-D68 in Canada,” the B.C. Centre for Disease Control said Friday. It is unknown to what extent EV-D68 contributed to his death.