State health officials confirm first case of enterovirus D68

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Health Services has confirmed the state's first case of enterovirus D68.

The sample that tested positive for the D68 strain is one of 27 samples from Arizona that had been tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Wednesday. They have been collected since Aug. 5.

Six samples tested positive for rhinovirus and another six tested positive for both rhinovirus and enterovirus. Health officials say these enterovirus cases are not the D68 strain, which can cause severe respiratory illness, particularly in children. The remaining 14 samples tested negative.

The information from the state health department does not point to specific cases.

The recent death of a Peoria first-grader sparked concerns of enterovirus in the community. Six-year-old Luke Smith, who attended Vistancia Elementary, died suddenly of a respiratory illness.

Doctors believe 5-month-old Lancen Kendall died of enterovirus. The baby was put down for a nap one day earlier this month and rushed to a Valley hospital when he didn't wake up. He was pronounced brain dead five days later.

Seventeen cases are still pending.