Enterovirus D68 is in Wisconsin, but doctors say the focus should be on the impending flu season

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Doctors suspect there are at least nine Wisconsin cases of enterovirus D68 -- the respiratory and stomach virus that has hospitalized hundreds of children around the country. Samples of the nine suspected cases in the Madison area were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Test results should be back in about one week.  Enterovirus D68, is an uncommon strain of a very common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through autumn. Enterovirus D68 has sent hundreds of children across the country to the hospital, and while it is now in Wisconsin, doctors say we should be more concerned about the impending flu season.

"This D68 which is causing attention -- there's no vaccine yet," Dr. Ismail Quryshi said.

Dr. Quryshi, a physician with the Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group says we should be focused on the influenza virus, as flu season is upon us. Dr. Quryshi says the flu will affect many more people than enterovirus D68 will. 

"This is like I tell my patients. Well, hurricanes and tornadoes are going to come and you don't wait until tornadoes hit. What you do is prevention," Dr. Quryshi said.

Every year, flu season comes around and millions of Americans are affected by the flu. Every year, a few people die from it.

Doctors encourage folks to get the flu shot -- especially those who are elderly, children, pregnant women and people who have suppressed immune systems.

"Get the flu shot now so that you have the immunity. When the season comes in you are able to fight it," Dr. Quryshi said.

There are many strains of enterovirus -- but the D68 strain seems to be causing the recent problems. There are many strains of influenza too, and the vaccine won't cover all of them.

"You still have to do your hand-washing. You still have to cover your cough, sneezing. You still have to not visit the sick ones or people who are immuno-suppressed," Dr. Quryshi said.

Dr. Quryshi says the flu shot may not prevent you from getting the flu, but it can help with both the duration and severity -- greatly reducing the chances you'll get pneumonia or end up in the hospital.

CLICK HERE for more on the enterovirus D68 via FOX6Now.com.

CLICK HERE for flu resources from the CDC.