STANFORD (CBS SF) – A mystery illness is causing paralysis in some California children, according to a study co-authored by UCSF and Stanford doctors.
At least five children have suffered weakness or paralysis in one or more limbs that resembled the damage of Polio, according to a release from the American Academy of Neurology.
“These five new cases highlight the possibility of an emerging infectious polio-like syndrome in California,” said co-author Emanuelle Waubant, MD, University of California-San Francisco.
The symptoms come on quickly, with paralysis reached within a couple of days. The sensation and movement did not return during a six month study period, and spinal scans show damage consistent with polio affliction.
“They are absolutely not a cluster because they don’t go to the same school or live in the same town. These cases have been seen over the past year and a half,” Waubant said.
Waubant said all the children had received the vaccinations against polio, though two had tested positive for enterovirus-68, a rare virus previously associated with polio-like symptoms, according to the report.
WHAT IS AN ENTEROVIRUS:
- Click here for the Center For Disease Control’s symptoms of non-polio enterovirus
- Follow this link for CDC info on how the enterovirus is spread
- Read this article recapping the deadly enterovirus outbreak in Asia
“Although poliovirus has been eradicated from most of the globe, other viruses can also injure the spine, leading to a polio-like syndrome,” said Stanford co-author Keith Van Haren, MD in the AAN press release. “We would like to stress that this syndrome appears to be very, very rare. Any time a parent sees symptoms of paralysis in a child, the child should be seen by a doctor right away,”
According to published reports, state health officials are also looking into the possibility that a virus is to blame.