Virus identified as a cause of paralyzing condition in Minnesota children
Jeremy Olson April 18, 2019
A virus appears to be the cause behind a rash of polio-like illnesses that struck Minnesota last fall, causing paralyzing symptoms in several children, including one girl who lost all motor function and remains hospitalized.
Researchers from Minnesota and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that they found Enterovirus-D68 in the spinal fluid of one of six children who suffered acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.
The virus caused the condition in that child and is presumed to be the cause in the other five, according to the researchers, who described their finding as a key development in addressing a puzzling national outbreak.
“[AFM] is incredibly scary for patients and families,” said Dr. Heidi Moline, the lead author of the report and the University of Minnesota’s chief pediatrics resident. “The fact that we were able to definitively identify the EV-D68 virus as the cause of paralysis in one of our Minnesota patients does suggest this virus as a probable cause in our other recent AFM cases.”