Enteroviruses, those shed from the gastrointestinal or upper respiratory tract, are easily transmitted from person to person and are fairly common. A particular strain of this virus, called EV- D68, is worrying U.S. doctors. It has already sent hundreds of kids to the hospital in six states and doesn’t show signs of slowing down its spread. The virus made its Northeast debut last week with doctors confirming more than a dozen cases in New York State.

In a statement released Sept. 12, the New York State Department of Health advised residents to be “extra vigilant in preventing the spread of EV-D68.” The somewhat rare enterovirus strain, EV-D68, has been confirmed in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York is the first state in the Northeast to have a confirmed case of the virus, and health officials hope that with the correct precautions it will be the only one. "It is important that we follow common sense rules to prevent the spread of this virus, as we do for flu and other contagious illnesses,” said acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, the International Business Times reported. In total, there have been 97 confirmed cases of EV-D68 in the U.S. since mid-August.

The virus seems to be of particular concern due to the speed at which it can spread among a region. According to the NY Daily News, the virus is especially dangerous to infants and children with asthma, and adults with weakened immune systems. Hundreds of children have already been brought to the hospital with EV-D68-related symptoms in the span of a month.

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment or vaccination against this virus. Mark Pallansch, a virologist and director of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases, told CNN that the outbreak could be “just the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases.” IBT reported that Illinois and Missouri have barred healthy children from entering buildings in an effort to stall the virus’ spread, but the recent onset of the school year may help to further the disease reach.

Symptoms of the virus include: runny nose, fever, sneezing, coughing, and body aches. Most people are able to recover on their own, but in some of the most extreme cases, children experience extremely compromised breathing capabilities. Parents are advised to immediately bring their child to the doctor if they display any difficulty breathing.

The public’s best chance at halting the virus’ spread may be practicing proper hygiene. The Department of Health recommends that people wash hands often, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth, and refrain from sharing cups or food with sick people. For now, we are advised that the DOH has teamed up with the CDC and local health departments to monitor and control the situation.