A rare strain of the Enterovirus is now confirmed in Oklahoma. Health officials said there are seven cases of the virus across the state.
Symptoms often land people in the hospital and most of the victims are young children.
The state health department just received confirmation Tuesday morning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and News 9 is told this is just the first round of testing.
“For about 30 seconds, I wasn't able to breathe at all,” said patient, River Johnson.
11-year-old River Johnson thought he may have caught the virus at school this past Friday.
“A lot of kids were sneezing. I got sneezed on like twice,” said Johnson. “It was pretty nasty.”
River was admitted to a hospital in Chicago after his symptoms got so bad, he was gasping for air.
“It felt as if someone was pressing on my chest,” said Johnson.
Children in the Midwest and Southeast all went back to school in August. That's when health officials said the virus started to get bad.
Now, after more than a week, test results from the CDC are back and Oklahoma has been added to the list of affected states.
A total of 11 other states, including Kansas, Missouri and Colorado have confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68.
“This is a rare form of Enterovirus, but the cases are relatively mild, but there are those severe symptoms that can lead to respiratory problems,” said Epidemiologist, Cynthia Harry with the Oklahoma City County Health Department.
The virus is typically spread from person to person, so "clusters" of infection are possible. It's what pediatricians have been seeing in hospitals in Missouri and Kansas.
Our state health department does not know yet if the seven confirmed cases here was a cluster of infections. But they could very well be spread across the state.
Good news for River though, he's getting better. The virus usually lasts for about a week.
“People should not worry. This is a time of season where there are a lot of respiratory illnesses that are going around,” said Harry.
Some patients have been sent to intensive care because of the virus, but at this point, no one has died.