CDC investigating whether respiratory virus is causing paralysis in children
DENVER, Colo. – Health officials in Denver are looking for the cause of a neurological illness that has affected nine children in Colorado.
The children were hospitalized with muscle weakness in their limbs between Aug. 9 and Sept. 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials say MRI tests spotted abnormalities in the children’s spinal gray matter.
Most of the children experienced respiratory illnesses before being admitted to the hospital.
The CDC says it is still investigating the cause of the symptoms but say they do not believe the cases were caused by polio.
“We don’t know, at this point, if there is any association between the enterovirus EV-D68 that’s circulating and the paralytic conditions some of the children in Colorado are experiencing,” said Tom Skinner, the CDC spokesman.
Tests of the children’s cerebrospinal fluid came back negative for enterviruses and West Nile Virus.
However, a test of their nasal passages found enterovirus in six out of the eight patents
Of those six, four tested positive for enterovirus D68, which has been sending children across the country to the hospital with severe respiratory problems.
The other two test results are pending.
“It could be something else. That doesn’t prove cause and effect, but it’s circumstantial evidence,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
A group of children with similar paralysis symptoms was identified in California last year.
Samples from two of the children tested positive for the virus.
So far, the virus has infected at least 277 people in 40 states, according to the CDC.
A New Jersey toddler died last week from a severe respiratory illness, samples are being tested to see if he was infected with enterovirus D68.