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Visitors under age 12 to Blessing Hospital restricted until further notice

Children under the age of 12 are restricted from visiting Blessing Hospital patients until further notice due to the outbreak of a respiratory virus among youngsters in the region. The outbreak hit hard over the holiday weekend with more than 70 children presenting to the Blessing Emergency Center with breathing difficulties and seven being admitted for treatment of the as-yet-unidentified virus.
Blessing Hospital is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to identify the virus affecting area children. Robert Merrick, MD, epidemiologist, Blessing Hospital, says it could be the same virus that hit St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, last week. That outbreak was caused by HEV68, a respiratory infection that affects mainly children.
“We are restricting children under age 12 from visiting Blessing Hospital patients until further notice to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the virus for all involved, the children who would be visiting and our patients,” Dr. Merrick said.
Parents and guardians of children under age 12 should not bring those youngsters with them to Blessing Hospital to visit a patient until further notice. Blessing staff will assess the situation daily and announce when the visiting restriction for children under the age of 12 is lifted.