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Medicine

Denver Latest City Hit By Viral Respiratory Infection That Targets Kids 174

A respiratory illness that almost exclusively infects children and for which there is no vaccine has struck Denver, Colorado, the latest in a series of infection clusters in the Midwest; one Denver hospital alone has treated more than 900 children for the illness since August 18, though no deaths have been reported. Health officials believe that the sickness is related to a rare virus called human enterovirus 68 (HEV68), the [Denver] Post says. HEV68, first seen in California in 1962, and an unwelcome but highly infrequent visitor to communities worldwide since then, is a relative of the virus linked to the common cold (human rhinoviruses, or HRV), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ... HEV68, which almost uniquely affects children, tends to first cause cold-like symptoms, including body aches, sneezing and coughing. These mild complaints then worsen into life-threatening breathing problems that are all the more dangerous to children with asthma. Since viruses do not respond to antibiotics, hospitals have treated the illness with asthma therapies.
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Denver Latest City Hit By Viral Respiratory Infection That Targets Kids

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  • Scary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Every time I see adaptions of existing virus'/fungi/etc I'm reminded of the fact we rely on 3 very crude methods for treating the vast majority of illness.

    1) Anti-biotics (which is more of a biological bomb, destroying a large array of bacteria, almost completely untargeted)
    2) Immune-system & healing aids (various types of steroids, NSAIDs, simply shoving things back in place, etc)
    3) Brute force removal (surgical extraction and bypass)

    Very few (by ratio - that's not to say there aren't hundreds of reaso

    • Re:Scary (Score:4, Informative)

      by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Monday September 08, 2014 @08:56AM (#47851529)

      There are vaccines for many of the most dangerous viruses. That's why nobody gets smallpox any more and very few people get polio or measles.

    • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DiamondGeezer ( 872237 ) on Monday September 08, 2014 @08:58AM (#47851543) Homepage

      Dear AC

      And then there are gene-based therapies, x-rays, proton beams, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, radioisotope treatments, as well as vaccines, blood and bone marrow transpants. Nanotech is coming soon.

      Yes, they're all crude and "not having an advanced understanding" (whatever the fuck that means) but they are EFFECTIVE.

      As far as pandemics are concerned, where is it written that people in first world countries can't get difficult-to-treat illnesses transmitted while in close proximity to each other?

      What do actually suggest that is not "crude" by your definition. Reiki? Homeopathy? Hoping it will all go away if we pray to this deity or that statue?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        (Different AC) What original AC is saying is that our current medicine doesn't resemble Star Trek style tricorder, hypospray, targeted transporter non-penetrative surgery that we might expect from a Star Trek future. We drop blanket bombs into our bodies with the expectation that the evil bits will die a whole lot faster than the good bits, and by the time the evil bits are dead, the good bits are still in a good enough shape to regenerate. Sure, we made some progress (that proton beam sounds like a thing t

        • (Different AC) What original AC is saying is that our current medicine doesn't resemble Star Trek style tricorder, hypospray, targeted transporter non-penetrative surgery that we might expect from a Star Trek future.

          So, let me get this straight... you're unhappy with the present because it doesn't hold up to the predictions of a piece of fiction?

        • What original AC is saying is that our current medicine doesn't resemble Star Trek style ... We drop blanket bombs into our bodies with the expectation that the evil bits will die a whole lot faster than the good bits, and by the time the evil bits are dead, the good bits are still in a good enough shape to regenerate.

          No that is NOT what we do for practically anything but chemotherapy for most cancers (where the difference from normal tissue is very small - a few mutations in signaling systems) and the ma

    • by reikae ( 80981 )

      I'm afraid I don't understand what your point is. That people should realize medicine isn't perfect? Most folks probably do realize it, but like the feeling of hopefulness. Or are you calling for increased public funding?

  • antibiotics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Monday September 08, 2014 @08:48AM (#47851483)

    I have a feeling most docs will give out antibiotics for this anyway. It helps makes everyone feel like something is being done.

    • When people suffer from asthma, they are often prey to secondary bacterial infections which can turn nasty. Yes, they'll be prescribing prophylactic antibiotics in some cases.

      • by ebonum ( 830686 )

        Yes. Broad spectrum stuff for bacteria that most likely already has resistance. If there is an infection and it does turn nasty, then they will worry picking their antibiotics more carefully. Or should I say correctly?

        I'm a big believer in getting a culture to be positive of what needs to be killed and then picking an antibiotic that has some chance of working. I should add: IAMAD.

        • I should add: IAMAD.

          ??

          You are mad at doctors?

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          "Broad spectrum stuff for bacteria that most likely already has resistance. I
          false. Not even close. You are tlkaing out of your ass to defend tlaking out of your ass.
          Stop it.

          "Or should I say correctly?"
          No. fact that turns nasty can be too late.

          "I'm a big believer in getting a culture to be positive of what needs to be killed and then picking an antibiotic that has some chance of working.
          Fact of the matter is, that often not possible. Plus, it could be several. And it could become too late.

    • Re:antibiotics (Score:5, Informative)

      by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday September 08, 2014 @09:21AM (#47851687)

      I have a feeling most docs will give out antibiotics for this anyway. It helps makes everyone feel like something is being done.

      In most cases they are prescribed to treat secondary Sinus infections that result from the virus. I, for example, get a sinus infection every time I get a cold. Literally, every time. I was genetically cursed with terrible closed off sinuses that easily become infected, and as a result it's a matter of course that I get antibiotics when I get a cold. They do normal inspections to make sure I really have an infection, and I always do. Some people are just like that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I had the same exact problem. In my case, I had sinus surgery to remove a polyp. Getting a cold meant my sinuses would close up and remain closed from an infection that would soon follow. 18 years later, I haven't had a single sinus infection.

    • One of the beneficial side effects of places like Kaiser ( all in one insurance/provider ) is that they can communicate and enforce such policies as "No antibiotics for viral infections", often in spite of well meaning but ultimately clueless parents.

      Smaller practices may still prescribe antibiotics for everything from a sniffle to a stubbed toe, but the bigger places are finally getting it. It's one of the few benefits of consolidating our health care as we are.

      • Re:antibiotics (Score:4, Informative)

        by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Monday September 08, 2014 @10:07AM (#47851967) Homepage

        Yup, and now we have higher pneumonia rates as a result. Better for the herd? Yup. For the individual patient? Well, maybe not quite as much.

        It's a tricky problem - you don't want antibiotic-resistant strains proliferating, but you don't want patients to spread or die of easily treated diseases, either. Evolution, in this case, sucks.

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          "Better for the herd? Yup."
          If we have higher pneumonia rates, then no it s NOT better for the herd.

          • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

            "Better for the herd? Yup."
            If we have higher pneumonia rates, then no it s NOT better for the herd.

            That depends greatly on whether the increase in pneumonia is offset by decreases in other problems like MRSA (especially considering that the former is much more treatable).

            That is one of the problems we have in healthcare - sometimes the best decision isn't the best decision for every individual, but if we want to really improve average health we need to still make the hard choices. If I'm the guy who stands a 2% chance of recovering if somebody spends $200k on cancer therapy, then that may very well be t

        • Yup, and now we have higher pneumonia rates as a result. Better for the herd?

          The only source I could find that agrees with you is this one [nih.gov] which is a small, retrospective study in an isolated area of the world. An interesting theory but I would hesitate to get all wound up about it just yet.

          Even if this were to be a general case, you would have to consider this against the background of serious side effects from antibiotics (1:1000), development of resistance, costs and likely some other issues.

          Only the Sith deal in absolutes.

  • by gaelfx ( 1111115 ) on Monday September 08, 2014 @09:01AM (#47851557)

    ...when did Colorado become part of the Midwest?

    • What part of the country do you think it is?
    • The Eastern half of Colorado is in the Great Plains so it is valid to call that part of the state the Midwest. Denver sits on the West edge of the Great Plains. Everything west of Denver is the Rocky Mountains.

  • I guess you could say it...

    *Puts on sunglasses*

    ...Went viral.

    Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
  • by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Monday September 08, 2014 @10:25AM (#47852103) Homepage
    They're treating it with decongestants and broncodialors.

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