D68, Enterovirus D68, Health & Wellness, paralysis, Polio -

CDC Investigates to See if There’s a Link Between Enterovirus, Paralysis in Children

D68, Enterovirus D68, Health & Wellness, paralysis, Polio -

CDC Investigates to See if There’s a Link Between Enterovirus, Paralysis in Children

enterovirus, paralysis, boy sick, sick in hospital, sick childThe current outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has spread to at least 40 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and now doctors are on the lookout for a possible new complication: paralysis.

Some children who were admitted to hospitals for the known breathing problems that EV-D68 can cause also experienced limb weakness or paralysis. The virus is related to Poliovirus, the agent that causes polio. So far, nine children in Colorado are afflicted with the polio-like symptoms, and four had tested positive for EV-D68. The CDC is investigating whether this enterovirus is the cause or if there could be another explanation.

At least 277 people have been sickened with EV-D68 between mid-August and Sept. 26, according to the CDC. But all those afflicted with neurological complications were under the age of 18. Although rare, paralysis or limb weakness may be permanent.

“It’s at the top of our list, but those investigations are still continuing, and I think we have not yet determined conclusively that D68 is the cause,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, said to LiveScience.

The CDC is also investigating a possible first death linked to EV-D68 in New Jersey. There, a 4-year-old died at home after suffering from respiratory illness. New Jersey’s Health Department determined that the child did not die of influenza and sent samples to the CDC lab to be tested for enterovirus. The CDC is currently the only lab that can test for it.

  • There is no vaccination for EV-D68.
  • There is no standard treatment for the illness, except for medication to open the airway.
  • Prevention is key, and that involves hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and any other steps to prevent the spread of viruses.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, http://Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at http://www.TheReporterandTheGirl.com

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