Cumberland girl dies from infection associated with enterovirus

By News Staff 

A 10-year-old Cumberland girl has died from infection associated with Enterovirus.

Emily Otrando was a fifth grader at Community School in Cumberland.

The Rhode Island Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that the she was infected with both Staphylococcus aureus sepsis and enteroviral infection (EV-D68), which is a very rare combination that can cause very severe illness in both children and adults. According to Dr. Fine, the child started to get sick and her parents brought her to the hospital and she passed away within 24 hours. She died on Sept. 22 at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. She was buried on Saturday in Highland Memorial Park Cemetery in Johnston.

Health officials say it is unclear if she had a staph infection and then contracted the Enterovirus or vice-versa. Either way, Dr. Fine says the combination of the two illnesses is the “perfect storm” and that is what lead to the child’s death. 

Prior to this illness health officials say she was a healthy child.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detected enterovirus in specimens from a few patients in a few states who had died and had samples submitted for testing. The role that EV-D68 played in these deaths is still unclear.

“We are all heartbroken to hear about the death of one of Rhode Island’s children,” says Michael Fine, M.D., Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.  “Many of us will have EV-D68.  Most of us will have very mild symptoms and all but very few will recover quickly and completely.  The vast majority of children exposed to EV-D68 recover completely.”

Cumberland Superintendent Philip Thornton sent out an email Wednesday detailing how the district was initially informed Sept. 22nd that this “was not the Enterovirus.”

Thornton says the district was informed Wednesday morning that the student died as a result of Staphylococcus Aureus Sepsis
associated with the Enteroviral infection.

Thornton says they “are now taking additional precautions of having each school classroom and all school buildings cleaned.”

Here are recommendations from health officials for how to avoid contracting EV-D68:

·         Wash your own and your child’s hands often with soap and warm water 5 or 6 times a day (there is some evidence that hand washing is better than alcohol hand sanitizers at killing enteroviruses).  Wash for at least 20 seconds.  Children should sing their ABCs or “Happy Birthday” twice in a row while washing their hands to ensure the proper length in time.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and remind children to keep their hands away from their faces. 

·         Asthma management is particularly important at this time of year.  Ensure your child is taking the appropriate medications as prescribed by your child’s doctor. It is the important that parents have a current Asthma Action Plan for children with asthma.

·         Clean surfaces often, including toys, doorknobs, phone receivers, and keyboards.

·         Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.

·         If fever is present, stay home while sick and for at least one day after the fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

·         Seek medical help right away for a child with asthma who is having trouble breathing or suffers worsening respiratory symptoms that do not improve as expected with their usual medicines. 

·         Get a flu shot today

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