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Doctors suspect 13-year-old William Cornejo is among hundreds of area children suffering from the rare human enterovirus 68. On Friday, he was recovering at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver. ( Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post )

Children’s hospitals in Denver are experiencing an alarming spike in a severe respiratory illness — especially among very young children and those with asthma — that may be caused by an uncommon viral pathogen.

Officials at Children’s Hospital Colorado said they have treated more than 900 children since Aug. 18 for severe respiratory illness and admitted 86 to the hospital.

“We’ve been seeing a very high volume in our ER, ICU and among hospitalized patients. The hospital is very, very full,” said Dr. Christine Nyquist, a pediatric infectious disease physician. “Kids are getting (the virus) and having asthma complications.”

Written by Electa Draper The Denver Post
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