The simple policy fix that could halt the spread of the deadly enterovirus

Worried about the virus infecting one of your kids? Support paid sick days.

Sick child
(Image credit: (iStock))

I imagine I wasn't the only parent who gasped when learning about the New Jersey boy who died from the rapidly spreading enterovirus 68. Four-year-old Eli Walller seemed healthy when he went to bed on Sept. 24, The New York Times reports, but when his parents went to check on him the next morning, he was dead.

This virus, which is predominantly affecting children, remains a mystery to medical experts. Early symptoms resemble those of a common cold, including coughing and wheezing. But from there, the virus can progress devastatingly fast, leading to intensive care, paralysis, or, in Waller's case, even death. Because there is no treatment specific to the virus, doctors' only recommendations for prevention are to regularly wash hands and keep children home from school if they show any sign of the illness.

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Elissa Strauss

Elissa Strauss writes about the intersection of gender and culture for TheWeek.com. She also writes regularly for Elle.com and the Jewish Daily Forward, where she is a weekly columnist.