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New test speeds diagnosing enterovirus D68 in kids

10/15/2014

CBS News/AP

For more than two months, health officials have been struggling to understand the size of a national wave of severe respiratory illnesses caused by an unusual virus. This week, they expect the wave to start looking a whole lot bigger.

But that's because a new test will be speeding through a backlog of cases. Starting Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using a new test to help the agency process four or five times more specimens per day that it has been.

The test is a yes/no check for enterovirus D68, which since August has caused hundreds of asthma-like respiratory illnesses in children -- some so severe the patients needed a breathing machine. The virus is being investigated as a cause of at least 6 deaths.

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