Enterovirus D68 may be linked to polio-like paralysis in kids

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A new strain of enterovirus D68 may be responsible for polio-like paralysis in 115 children in 34 states since August 2014, study findings indicate.

“Enterovirus D68 was implicated in a widespread outbreak of severe respiratory illness across the United States in 2014 and has also been reported sporadically in patients with acute flaccid myelitis,” wrote Alexander L. Greninger, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

To investigate the association between the enterovirus D68 infection and acute flaccid myelitis during the 2014 enterovirus D68 respiratory outbreak in the United States, the investigators examined data from 48 children. The study participants had had acute flaccid myelitis (n=25); enterovirus-associated encephalitis (n=2); enterovirus-D68-associated upper respiratory illness; and aseptic meningitis or encephalitis and tested positive for enterovirus (n=16).

Enterovirus D68 was detected in respiratory secretions from seven (64%) of 11 patients comprising two temporally and geographically linked acute flaccid myelitis clusters at the height of the 2014 outbreak, and from 12 (48%) of 25 patients with acute flaccid myelitis overall.

Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all enterovirus D68 sequences associated with acute flaccid myelitis grouped into a clade B1 strain that emerged in 2010. Deep metagenomic sequencing of cerebrospinal fluid from 14 patients with acute flaccid myelitis did not reveal evidence of an alternative infectious cause to enterovirus D68.

“These findings strengthen the putative association between enterovirus D68 and acute flaccid myelitis and the contention that acute flaccid myelitis is a rare yet severe clinical manifestation of enterovirus D68 infection in susceptible hosts.”

EV-D68 spreads across midwestern United States
Enterovirus D68 may be linked to polio-like paralysis in kids

A new strain of a common respiratory virus may be responsible for partly paralyzing scores of children nationwide, researchers reported on Monday.

Since August, 115 children in 34 states have developed polio-like paralysis in an arm or a leg. The virus, enterovirus 68, has emerged as a leading suspect.

A study published Monday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases strengthens that possibility, although many questions remain.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed genetic sequences of enterovirus 68 cultured from 25 children in Colorado and California with limb paralysis, also called acute flaccid myelitis.

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