03:40 AM

KC kids may help in finding treatment for enterovirus that struck hundreds last year

A virus that hospitalized hundreds of area kids last summer and fall could return again this year or in years to come. Kansas City kids who've had enterovirus 68 may help in finding a way to prevent or treat the illness.

More than 500 kids were hospitalized at Children's Mercy Hospital last year with the virus. Dozens were in intensive care with severe breathing trouble. The virus was also linked to paralysis in a small number of kids.

The outbreak in Kansas City was one of the first and worst in the nation. Kids received supportive care, but there is no drug to directly fight it.

Dr. James Crowe wants to change that. He knows enterovirus 68 can strike again. Dr. Crowe is a researcher at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He says kids who had the virus last year hold the key to prevention and treatment. Their blood cells now have antibodies to the virus. Dr. Crowe wants to isolate the antibodies in his lab.

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