This time last year we were in the beginning stages of a nasty outbreak of a mysterious illness what was causing paralysis in children. All we had to go on was the clinical symptom of sudden paralysis, sometimes after having a fever or respiratory illness and an MRI showing a gray matter spinal cord lesion in the anterior horn.
And that’s still what we have to go on. We don’t really know what’s causing this. Scary.
There is a mild link with an enterovirus, but that link has yet to be solidified.
Right now, the CDC is on high alert, having set up several active surveillance areas, asked all neurologists to be on the look out and are digging through the records of 6 teaching hospitals to see if this thing was happening earlier, we just didn’t see it. They have made this a big priority because the 2014 outbreak had 118 confirmed cases with the average age being just 7. And of those 118, only 2 children returned to fully normal functioning and some remain on ventilators. Children are supposed to run and skip and play… not stay in a bed with a machine breathing for them.
So since the neurologists are on high alert, neurological therapists need to be on high alert too. Because like I’ve said before, the front line medical workers– physicians, nurses, etc.– often don’t catch all the details. It may be YOU that recognizes a disease for what it truly is.