Mysterious Polio-Like Illness Strikes Kids in California

Mysterious Polio-Like Illness Strikes Kids in California

By Barbara Bronson Gray

HealthDay Correspondent

SUNDAY, Feb. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A rare “polio-like disorder” has caused loss of motion in about 20 children from over California, according to a report released Sunday by physicians in the San Francisco Narrows Region.

The children, who are between the ages of 3 and 12, created what is called acute, or sudden, flabby paralysis — shortcoming or misfortune of muscle tone coming about from harm or infection of the nerves that stimulate muscles to move.

Although polio has been wiped out across most of the globe, other infections can harm the spine, causing loss of motion, said Dr. Keith Van Haren, author of the case report and a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Clinic, at Stanford University. The children who have been influenced appear to have been permanently paralyzed, he said.

Van Haren said these cases suggest there’s a possibility of a modern infectious polio-like syndrome in California.

The illness isn’t polio. All the casualties had been immunized against polio and tested negative for the presence of the malady, Van Haren explained. And the illness is uncommon. “It’s not an plague,” he said. “But it is something that is concerning.”

The culprit may well be a virus strain called enterovirus-68 that has been connected to polio-like flare-ups in children in Asia and Australia, Van Haren said. But not all of the casualties tested positive for that infection, so the cause of the illness is still unclear.

A few of the children had respiratory or other sicknesses before creating muscle loss of motion, but for others muscle weakness was the first symptom.

Van Haren said a few casualties all of a sudden created weakness of one or more appendages inside approximately 48 hours of becoming sick. MRI filters showed troubling changes within the gray matter of the spinal cord.

To help them more viably battle the infection, the children were given steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin and or blood plasma exchange — without change, according to the authors of the case report.

How was the mysterious ailment found? Van Haren said that after he cared for four of five of the first cases that showed up in 2012, he realized the children’s illnesses and coming about paralysis were highly bizarre. He notified the California Division of Public Wellbeing, which has made a difference screen the outbreak since.

Van Haren and his group looked into all five polio-like cases among children whose lab samples had been referred to California’s Neurologic and Observation Testing Program from August 2012 to July 2013. He has presently included the information from about 15 extra cases reported since then, which he’ll be showing at the American Foundation of Neurology annual assembly, held April 26 to May 3 in Philadelphia.

Flabby loss of motion — unlike measles or pediatric flu deaths, for case — is not considered a malady or condition that must be reported to district or state health departments or national organizations just like the U.S. Centers for Malady Control and Anticipation.

Because there’s no reporting necessity, the scope of the issue is still hard to survey, explained Dr. Carol Glaser, chief of encephalitis and the special examinations section within the California Division of Public Health. “We do not know whether these cases represent an increase in cases over what usually happens or even if cases are an continuous or separated event,” she said.

Glaser also pointed out that the California Division of Open Health has not yet distinguished a common cause for the cases. “At this arrange, CDPH has inquired wellbeing care suppliers to report any polio-like cases they might identify and send examples so that able to superior survey the situation,” she said.

On a national level, the CDC also cannot know for sure whether there are more cases of this polio-like syndrome than they have heard almost, or to what occasion the ailment may be appearing in other states. “It’s hard to know if five or 20 cases in the course of a year or two are noteworthy,” said Jason McDonald, CDC spokesperson. “Intense flaccid paralysis can be the result of a assortment of viral and non-viral causes.”

Guardians who notice a sudden onset of shortcoming in their children should see their pediatrician right away, Van Haren exhorted. Physicians in the state should notify the California Office of Open Health any time they see a child with intense flabby loss of motion that’s not due to infections that influence the apprehensive framework, such as botulism or Guillain-Barre disorder, he included.

For her portion, Glaser emphasized that as it were a really little number of cases have been recognized, with no clear common cause. “Health care providers have been inquired to send information approximately comparable cases so that we will decide whether or not there’s anything abnormal almost these cases,” she said.

Since this case review has not however been published in a peer-reviewed diary, the information and conclusions should be seen as preparatory, CDC’s McDonald cautioned.

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