Share this story...
Latest News

Phoenix-area student dies after coming down with respiratory illness

PHOENIX — A suburban Phoenix elementary school student died Tuesday while being treated for a “serious respiratory condition”, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Though there is speculation that the deceased child had contracted Enterovirus-D68, there is no confirmation that the virus was the cause of death. Officials say testing is underway for multiple respiratory viruses that may be related to the cause of death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona is currently one of only four states to not have a confirmed case of respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii also have not had a confirmed case.

Still, the Health Department maintains “there is no reason to believe that students at Vistancia Elementary are at an increased risk for serious respiratory disease.”

Vistancia Elementary School in Peoria notified parents Tuesday that the student was being treated for a “serious respiratory condition” and that some classrooms were being sanitized as a precaution.

EV-D68, like all respiratory viruses, can be spread in the same way as the cold or the flu, and thus can be prevented in similar ways.

A letter sent home to parents did not say what the illness was but that Maricopa County Health officials had been notified.

Some parents were taking their children out of class.

A voicemail message at the Peoria School District office informed repeated what had been written in the letter:

Dear Vistancia Parent/Guardian:

As you may be aware, a first-grade student became ill over the weekend and is currently being treated for a very serious respiratory condition. At this time, we do not have a specific diagnosis of this illness. The district is currently working with Maricopa County Health Department as the health and well-being of our students and community is the number one priority. Some classrooms have been relocated in order to thoroughly clean and sanitize all surface areas.

We are keeping in close contact with the student’s family and are lending our support. As more information becomes available about the student and a specific diagnosis, we will keep you updated. Please keep this family in your thoughts. The unity of the Vistancia community continues to be a source of pride and strength and we appreciate each and every one of its members.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health, we would encourage you to contact your family physician. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

Thank you.

Vistancia is near Ridgeline Road and Vistancia Boulevard.

For more information on respiratory illnesses, including locations of flu vaccinations, please visit

KTAR’s Bob McClay and Martha Maurer contributed to this report.