03
March
2015
|
12:35 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

Mystery paralysis in children is perplexing parents and researchers

For most of the children who fell ill last year during an outbreak of enterovirus, the symptoms were relatively mild - fever, runny nose, coughing and sneezing.

But then there was this mystery: More than 100 kids suffered an unexplained, polio-like paralysis that struck quickly but even now continues to stump researchers and upend the lives of the families across the country. 

Mary Anne Jackson, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the researchers trying to explain the inexplicable condition.

When several cases surfaced at her hospital last year in children between the ages of 4 and 13, she and other doctors suspected that enterovirus was the culprit.

"We looked at blood, spinal fluid, stool - thinking we'd find [the EV-D68] virus," Jackson said. "It just wasn't there."

They also saw on MRIs what other doctors nationwide were noticing: distinctive damage to a specific part of the spinal cord. "That's the classic feature of polio," Jackson said. "On the scan, it looks like polio."

Read more at the Washington Post.