Officials believe kids' virus present in Arizona

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- State health officials says it hasn't been confirmed yet but that they believe a virus causing respiratory illness in children in multiple states across the country is also present in Arizona.

Department of Health Services spokeswoman Laura Oxley says Arizona hospitals have reported clusters of respiratory disease and requested testing to determine whether the human enterovirus 68 is present in Arizona.

Oxley says samples are en route to the federal Centers for Disease Control for testing.

Symptoms of the virus are similar to the common cold, but the illness can rapidly progress in severity and cause wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Officials say washing hands, staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes and avoiding close contact with people who are sick can help protect people from respiratory illness.

Related: Serious respiratory illness hits hundreds of kids