Four cases of an enterovirus have been confirmed in California, the state health officer said Thursday.
Three cases were reported in San Diego and one in Ventura.
The state is testing specimens from other counties and more cases are anticipated in coming weeks, state officials said.
Local health departments have been asked to submit samples from all rhinovirus/enterovirus positive specimens from hospitalized children younger than 18 or from clusters of cases of any age.
Fresno County has not had a positive case, said Dr. Ken Bird, interim county health officer. "I'm honestly not surprised that it's appeared in California now and it would not surprise me either if it appears here eventually," he said.
Health providers have been notified to be watchful for the virus, Bird said.
The virus likely spreads similar to a cold or flu virus when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches contaminated surfaces.
Symptoms of the enterovirus include runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches. Fever may be a symptom but may not be present, Bird said.
"It's bringing on severe symptoms without fever in some cases," he said. Anyone having trouble breathing or wheezing, particularly children with a history of asthma, should seek medical care, state officials said.
There is no vaccine to prevent the virus.
But Bird said the influenza virus can be prevented, and it's important for everyone six months of age and older to get a flu shot.
The best way to prevent the spread of enteroviruses is to:
-- 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.
Additional information about enterovirus can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.