Doctors figure out what's causing mysterious polio-like illness in kids
A team of researchers from Colorado has determined that the mysterious polio-like illness paralyzing kids is being caused by enterovirus D68.
AURORA, COLORADO — Doctors have long been stumped by polio-like illness that's been causing paralysis in kids, but now that mystery may have finally been solved.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acute flaccid myelitis or AFM is a rare condition that causes inflammation in the spinal cord. Symptoms include facial and eyelid drooping, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, and paralysis.
The U.S. had an outbreak of the disease in 2014, with 120 confirmed cases, and then again in 2016, with 149 people infected.
Though tests of their spinal fluid yielded nothing, patients with AFM tested positive for a respiratory virus known as enterovirus D68, reports KUNC.
Repeated experiments on infected mice showed that EV-D68 killed nerve cells in the spinal cord, which resulted in partial paralysis.
While the findings are significant and could help doctors figure out how to control the disease, many unanswered questions remain.
Direct evidence from infected human tissue is needed to officially confirm the link between the disease and the virus. Until such time, health officials are hoping there won't be another resurgence of the crippling illness.
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