We have all heard of the children in Colorado who have been hospitalized with unexplained muscle weakness. It has so far affected 10 children with an illness involving the brain and spinal cord. Let us be clear, we have been told the children have been tested and it is NOT polio. The CDC and the California Department of Health have been looking further into the cause of some cases of paralysis earlier this year. However, differences exist between the California and Colorado cases, including age of the patients, timing of cases, etc. You may have also heard that some of the children in Colorado have had cold-like symptoms and have tested positive for Enterovirus D68; while others have not. As the doctors, labs, various health departments and the CDC work on finding out why the children are sick, there are some things you can do:
• Be up to date on all recommended vaccinations, including polio, flu, measles and whooping cough. It is important that you and your children are vaccinated.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after blowing your nose, going to the bathroom or changing a diaper.
• Avoid sick people.
• Clean and disinfect objects that have been touched by a sick person or by a visiting child.
One thing is key! If your child is having problems walking, standing or develops sudden weakness in an arm or leg, contact a doctor right away.
According to the AAP, “Doctors and nurses who see patients with unexplained muscle weakness or paralysis in the arms or legs are testing them to see if they might have this sickness. They also are reporting information to their state or local health department.” The CDC will be issuing treatment guidelines in the next several weeks. The American Academy of Pediatrics is also monitoring cases of Enterovirus D68.
CDC features: Unexplained Paralysis Hospitalizes Children, 2014
AAP News: CDC continues investigation of neurologic illness: will issue guidelines, 2014