Mystery Disease Strikes Some California Children

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 06:18 AM

By Elliot Jager

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A mysterious neurological illness has struck a small number of California children, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We know definitively that it isn't polio," said Dr. Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

The partial paralysis strikes fast sometimes after a short respiratory illness. Spinal cord scans show polio-like damage.

Only two of the 20 children who came down with the disease in the past 18 months tested positive for the enterovirus-68 virus that is sometimes linked to polio.

All the children affected had been vaccinated against polio. About half were under 12 years old, the Times reported. They live within a 100 mile diameter of one another but scientists say this does not represent a cluster. Doctors do not think they are dealing with an epidemic.

Scientists and public health physicians are asking pediatricians to report patients with similar signs of illness. Some people might have been infected without showing symptoms.

After six months, none of the children have yet to regain use of their paralyzed limbs.
The cases were reported at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, according to the BBC.

Polio has been eradicated in the United States since 1979, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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