Enterovirus 68 (EV68) is a rare enterovirus associated with respiratory illness that, unlike other enteroviruses, has been identified only from respiratory specimens. We identified EV68 from respiratory specimens of children hospitalized with a diagnosis of severe pneumonia in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. Twenty-one samples showed high similarity with EV68 by sequencing of 5' nontranslated region; 17 of these samples were confirmed as EV68 by sequencing of viral protein 1 capsid coding region. Most previously reported EV68 cases had been identified as sporadic cases. All 21 patients we identified had severe illness, and 2 died, possibly the first reported fatal cases associated with EV68 infection. Our study suggests that EV68 may be a possible causative agent of severe respiratory illnesses.
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