A rare virus has killed three people and sickened nearly 100 in Japan, the Philippines, the United States and the Netherlands over the past two years, US health authorities said Friday.

The culprit is human enterovirus 68 (HEV68), and its respiratory symptoms can be particularly dangerous to children, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In six separate clusters of the virus that showed up worldwide, patients commonly experienced cough, difficulty breathing and wheezing.

The CDC said its report aimed to highlight HEV68 as "an increasingly recognized cause of respiratory illness" and urged clinicians to report cases of unexplained respiratory illness to public health authorities.