Eli — a sweet, active, blonde-haired preschooler — had gone to sleep feeling fine, perhaps dreaming of playing with his sisters or having a fun day at school.
He didn’t make it through the night.
While the young boy died sometime between the night of Wednesday, September 24, and the following morning, it wasn’t until Friday night that authorities figured out why: enterovirus D68, a particularly pernicious strain of an otherwise common virus that has been particularly widespread this year.
While it’s been detected in at least four people who died, Eli’s case is the first in which authorities have definitively cited enterovirus D68 as the cause of death.
Health officials in New Jersey are currently monitoring other students who had contact with Eli:
The enterovirus D68 outbreak is widespread and still little is known about why the illness strikes some children much harder than others:
More news coverage of D68 here.