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In the span of four months, at least 94 children in 33 U.S. states have developed a devastating form of paralysis with symptoms similar to polio. Some require a ventilator to breathe. And some of the greatest government health minds in the country say they have no idea what’s causing it. At the same time, during the past four months, at least 12 children have died after falling ill with a respiratory virus called Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68). Again, federal health officials are at a loss to explain the origin of the epidemic.
It appears that the first, now dubbed acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), might be linked to the second.
In a November 7 alert to practitioners, the CDC noted, “the unusual clustering of acute limb weakness occurred against a background of a nationwide outbreak of severe respiratory illness among children due to enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68). Several of the patients in California and nearly half of the 11 cases identified in Colorado had tested positive for EV-D68 from nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs at the time of admission for their neurologic illness. This raised a possible association between these neurologic illnesses and the ongoing outbreak of respiratory disease due to EV-D68.”
Whether both are linked to the flood of illegal immigrant children allowed to enter the U.S. this past summer remains unclear.