Doctors in the U.S. are investigating a virus that may have caused paralysis in more than 100 children in the U.S. and at least one in France.
The children affected have been taken to hospitals with weaknesses and paralysis in their arms and legs, known as acute flaccid paralysis. Since September, more than 100 cases have been reported.
Doctors believe a viral infection is causing the outbreak of AFP, and that virus can be caught by someone nearby coughing or sneezing.
Enterovirus D68, which is distantly related to polio, causes an upper respiratory infection.
In the cases of children with AFP, the enterovirus had affected some of the children previously and may have somehow caused the paralysis in their limbs. Polio is well known for leading to paralysis in children.
Researchers believe EV-D68 could be the reason for other unexplained cases of AFP across the U.S. and in France. Dr. Samuel Dominguez, a top researcher on the case, said, “The extent to which this new distinctive neurological disease has spread is unknown, but it does not appear to be isolated to Colorado or the U.S.”
Aurora, Colorado was one of the main centers for treatment where many of the children affected with AFP went to for care and research.
This is not the first time doctors have seen this virus. In 2012, five children in California tested positive for EV-D68. Other cases have been reported in recent decades, but none have led to an outbreak.