Orange County health officials confirmed Friday the first three cases of enterovirus D68, the potentially dangerous respiratory ailment that has been spreading across the country.

The three patients are all children and they are unrelated. The Orange County Health Agency did not immediately provide details on when the cases were diagnosed or the status of the patients.

"Due to the heightened awareness and surveillance for enterovirus D68, t is not surprising to identify cases in Orange County,'' according to Dr. Eric Handler, the county's public health officer.

A total of 32 cases of enterovirus D68 have been confirmed across the state, with the most in San Diego County, where there have been eight cases, according to the California Department of Public Health.

A child was treated for the virus in Long Beach, and another who was treated at Children's Hospital Los Angeles experienced partial paralysis but was said to be recovering.

State health officials said the virus likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or touches contaminated surfaces. Symptoms can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body and muscle aches. Some children can develop breathing difficulty and wheezing.

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