DENVER, Col. (Files from AP and CBS) — The Center for Disease Control is currently testing samples from across the country after an unusually large outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), which can cause paralysis.
The virus has been confirmed in 277 cases in 40 states, including Washington. But so far, there are no confirmed cases in Oregon.
The virus was detected in four of eight Colorado children who experienced weakness and paralysis in their limbs. Experts say the two conditions may be related but could also be a coincidence.
Experts are “trying to figure out if these two things happened simultaneously because we were in the middle of a very big outbreak of enterovirus D68 or if there is actually a causal relationship,” said Rainbows and Babies Children’s Hospital Director of Pediatric Infection Control Dr. Claudia Hoyen.
So far, ten children in Colorado have been diagnosed with paralysis-like symptoms, the Associated Press reports.
“In the past where there have been what we think post-infectious enterovirus paralysis, those children tend to do well and actually regain most of their function,” said Hoyen.
EV-D68 has existed for decades, often affecting children with asthma.
Hundreds of confirmed diagnoses has experts recommending parents be extra vigilant, especially if their child experiences muscle weakness.
Children should be reminded to avoid spreading germs by washing their hands, and sneezing into their sleeves.