Scientists have discovered a polio-like disease that has triggered severe weakness or rapid paralysis in one or more arms and legs in 5 children from California since 2012. They are introducing their results at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia.
One of the scientists, Dr. Keith Van Haren, states that:
“Although poliovirus has been eliminated from most of the globe, other viruses can also harm the spine, leading to polio-like symptoms.” He describes that in the last 10 years, scientists have recognized strains of enterovirus connected to polio-like outbreaks among kids in Asia and Australia. “These 5 new cases highlight the possibility of a growing infectious polio-like symptom in California.”
Polio is an infectious viral disease that can attack at any age and lead to paralysis. From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, polio crippled more than 35,000 People in America a year, but thanks to an effective vaccine, the US has been polio-free since 1979, states the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 1988, polio was endemic in more than 125 nations, but via a series of immunization efforts, the occurrence has dropped by more than 99% since then. In April 2013, the WHO declared they target to eliminate polio by 2018.
Dr. Van Haren and his co-workers had observed cases of this new polio-like disease at their medical centers and made the decision to find out how many there may be altogether in California. Scientists counted cases over 12 months, not including illnesses with similar symptoms
The team checked for all polio-like cases among children whose samples were sent to the Neurologic and Surveillance Testing program in California in between August 2012 and July 2013. They measured only cases where the illness triggered paralysis in one or more limbs, associated by spinal cord MRI scans that described the paralysis.
In addition, they omitted cases due to illnesses that can lead to similar symptoms, like Guillain-Barré syndrome and botulism.
The cases include five children whose sickness had left them paralyzed in one or more limbs, and had come on instantly, attaining peak severity within 2 days of onset. All of the kids had obtained polio vaccinations beforehand, and 3 of them had a respiratory health issues before their symptoms began.
The children’s signs did not enhance with treatment, and their limb function was continuing to poor 6 months later. While no cause was recognized in 3 of the children, the other two tested positive for a rare virus – enterovirus-68 – that has earlier been connected with polio-like symptoms.
Dr. Van Haren states that their outcomes will help efforts to track, test and treat the mysterious disease. Even though he states that the syndrome seems to be to be very unusual, he also states: “Any time a parent recognizes symptoms of paralysis in a child, the child must be seen by a physician right away.”