Health Officials Investigate Reports Of Paralysis In Enterovirus Patients
TULSA, Oklahoma - Health officials are investigating whether the enterovirus that's infecting kids across the country could be causing paralysis.
They're looking into the cases of nine Colorado children diagnosed with the virus. Four out of eight of them developed paralysis after getting the enterovirus. Officials say the status of the ninth child is unclear.
All of these cases occurred within the last two months. All of the children are being treated at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora.
Health officials say they don't know whether the virus caused the children's arm and leg weakness or whether it's just a germ they picked up. They say this all could be a coincidence, but they're conducting studies to get more information.
Health officials say the enterovirus can cause paralysis, but it's a rare complication. Enterovirus is a big family of viruses responsible for most common colds, but the strain D-68 includes more respiratory problems.
The virus usually lasts about a week. It has landed some patients in the ICU, but so far, there have been no deaths.
Centers for Disease Control say nationwide, 277 people are infected with the virus.
Health officials say there are no specific treatments or vaccines to prevent Enterovirus D68 infections but recommend the following protections:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as toys, doorknobs and light switches, especially if someone is sick.
- Staying home when sick.