TULSA, Oklahoma - Health officials in several states around Oklahoma are reporting cases of respiratory illness that is putting some children in the hospital. Enterovirus 68, or EV-68, has been diagnosed in Missouri, Colorado and Kansas, among other states.

About 15 percent of hospitalized patients have been placed in intensive care, according to the Missouri Department of Health.

Enteroviruses are very common and usually just have the relatively mild symptoms of the common cold, but EV-68 has been hitting some children hard over the last few weeks. A Tulsa Health Department representative said Monday that EV-68 is not a "reportable" disease, so they do not have statistics at this time for its occurrence here.

"Most enterovirus infections in the U.S. occur seasonally during the summer and fall, and outbreaks of tend to occur in several-year cycles," according to Gail Vasterling, director of the Missouri Department of Health.

EV-68 is less common, and CBS News reports that in some cases, those affected are severely ill within hours. The children hardest hit are having severe difficulty breathing and must receive emergency inpatient care.

There is no vaccine for EV-68, but health departments recommend the following to help reduce risk of infection:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Stay home when feeling sick, and obtain consultation from your health care provider.