Only one child has fully recovered in 103 confirmed cases of children experiencing a sudden onset of acute limb weakness called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the CDC reports. According to Medscape, the CDC is investigating whether AFM is linked to the recent outbreak of severe respiratory illness traced to enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68). The CDC and state public health laboratories have confirmed 1,153 cases of EV-D68 and 13 deaths dating from last August to January 8.
Almost all cases of EV-D68 have involved children. The Medscape news report notes that although enteroviruses in the past have rarely triggered neurological problems, they are related to the paralyzing polio virus.
The median age of the 103 children with AFM from August 2, 2014, to January 5 is about 7 years. Almost all of the children were hospitalized, with some put on breathing machines, and about two-thirds of those who were observed after their illness reported some improvement in symptoms. One-third of the children experienced no improvement.
An article published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reports that the CDC said the cerebrospinal fluid of 71 patients with AFM did not test positive for EV-D68 or any other pathogen. The Medscape news report indicates that when the CDC tested upper respiratory tract samples of 41 patients for rhinoviruses and enteroviruses, EV-D68 was found in eight of them.
In 19 patients whose upper respiratory tract samples were obtained less than 14 days from the onset of respiratory illness, a total of seven tested positive for EV-D68.
The CDC is encouraging clinicians to be on the lookout for cases of AFM and report them to their local, or state, health department.