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Polio-like symptoms found in California children

In other health-related news, The Los Angeles Times reports the medical community has seen an increase in what they are calling a “polio-like” disease which is causing paralysis in one or more limbs and other symptoms in children in the state of California.

The California Department of Public Health team is currently investigating a virus which they believe may be causing the strange symptoms which they have seen in several children throughout the state.

Children who are affected suffer severe weakness or paralysis, which strikes rapidly. Investigators believe the culprit may be the enterovirus-68, which has been associated with respiratory illnesses in the past, but has not generally displayed patterns in the spinal cord which seem to be similar to what is seen in polio sufferers.

Unfortunately, the affected children had lost limb function and after more than six months have yet to recover. Those studying the disease are quick to note that they know the condition is not polio. All five of the children had been vaccinated against polio.

Polio-like condition found in 2012


These polio-like cases have been tracked since 2012 when a California doctor requested a polio test for a child he was treating that had a severe paralytic illness. The doctor became concerned and contacted the CDC because polio has been eradicated in the United States and this child had not traveled outside of the United States.

Since 2012 there have been another twelve children who have had similar polio-like symptoms and common sources such as botulism and West Nile virus have been eliminated as the cause.

Doctors are quick to point out that this type of neurological response to polio or any other type of polio-like virus is incredibly rare. In fact, according to one expert “Most people who are infected by polio or a polio-like viruses like it never develop symptoms, with only 1% developing neurological complications like paralysis. Scientists do not know why certain people are affected so severely.”

Flu Season especially serious this year


The flu season has been especially serious this year, according to a recent report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The situation is particularly dangerous for young adults, with hospitalization rates rising much higher than in past years. Unfortunately, the flu season is not over, and the CDC is recommending that individuals still get the flu shot, which they argue has been effective this year.

The CDC has issued a warning, “There’s still a lot of influenza circulating. So if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, it’s not too late for you to benefit from getting vaccinated. “Influenza can make anyone very sick very fast, and it can kill. Vaccine is the single-most important thing you can do to protect yourself.”

One reason the CDC believes the flu has been especially dangerous for children this year is that many children have not been vaccinated. For instance, vaccination rates for children have been lower than 50% this year. Unfortunately, there have been 50 pediatric deaths already this season.