Children’s Hospital of Michigan restricts visits to limit spread of respiratory virus

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Detroit – — Children’s Hospital of Michigan is restricting visits to patients to help curb a rash of viral respiratory infections affecting children in Michigan and across the Midwest.

Children’s Hospital, part of the Detroit Medical Center, announced Tuesday they are experiencing an influx of patients with viral respiratory illnesses. Younger children are particularly susceptible to catching and spreading these illnesses, according to Dr. Prashant Mahajan, division chief and research director in Emergency Medicine at the hospital.

Effective immediately, only parents and legal guardians will be allowed in in-patient areas of the hospital. Hospital officials are warning parents not to bring patient’s siblings to the hospital, because nobody younger than 18 will be allowed on the in-patient floors.

Hundreds of children in more than 10 states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials say may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold.

Nearly 500 children have been treated at one hospital alone — Children's Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri — and some required intensive care, according to authorities. None of the cases at Children’s Hospital have been confirmed to be the Enterovirus D68, the hospital said.

The germ is an uncommon strain of a very common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through autumn.

The CDC said it is testing to see if the virus caused respiratory illnesses reported in children in Michigan, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah.

In addition to visitation restrictions, Children’s Hospital has placed information on its website to educate the public on preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses. For information, go to

Educational posters and hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the hospital as part of the overall strategy to protect patients and their families.

The temporary visitor guidelines will remain in effect as long as the hospital continues to experience a high volume of respiratory illnesses.