The 15-year-old girl who recently tested positive for enterovirus D68 — the first person in Santa Barbara County — has since recovered from the virus, said Paige Batson, the director of disease control and prevention programs for County Public Health. According to KEYT, the teenager — Alana Ochoa, a junior at Santa Barbara High School — is the daughter of news anchor Paula Lopez.
Batson said 14 other samples from Santa Barbara County residents — ranging in age from newborn to 89 years old — were sent to the state’s Public Health lab to determine if those strains were D68. All of the specimens were taken this month, Batson continued, and results generally take about two weeks to come in. Three of the 14 people tested have asthma, Batson added, which can make people more at risk for the D68 strain. Symptoms — which typically come about suddenly — include coughing, sneezing, fever, muscle aches, and trouble breathing.
Since August, the D68 strain has sickened people — mostly minors — in almost every state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tied the deaths of five children to the virus. As of October 17, health officials in California have confirmed 43 cases in the state.
Preventing transmission involves protocols similar to those for staving off the flu, Batson said. She advised washing hands frequently and avoiding touching one’s face and making contact with others if sick.