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Illness paralyzes five kids: No cure, says doctors, but 'definitely not polio'

A mysterious illness has paralyzed five children in the U.S.
A mysterious illness has paralyzed five children in the U.S.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

An illness that has paralyzed five kids has no cure yet, says one leading doctor, but he has assured the public that this is “definitely not polio,” a highly infectious disease. Unfortunately for these children, however, the mysterious sickness strongly resembles polio; it has stricken a number of children with a numbing paralysis, and led to another 25 to suffer milder issues. The Christian Post News reveals what information is known so far on the medical scare this Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, and why the threat doesn't seem to be responding to any recovery treatment.

A number of health concerns reach the public ears each and every day, but when an illness paralyzes five kids, it’s definitely a leading problem. While polio was the initial disease that doctors feared might be at hand due to the similar symptoms, medical officials say that this is "definitely" not the case, having ruled this theory out through tests. Nonetheless, they remain troubled that no cure for the mystery illness has been found, and overall chances of recovery look highly unlikely for these children.

The total count of kids hit by this paralyzing bout could be anywhere from five to 25 so far, continues the report. It has struck children here in the U.S. between the ages of just two all the way to a teen at the age of 16.

"The recovery has been, in the best cases, marginal," Emmanuell Waubant, professor of neurology and pediatrics at UCSF told NBC. "In the worst cases, there has been no recovery at all."

One of these victims, 4-year-old Sofia Jarvis, was only two years old when she started to suffer serious symptoms that doctors have said are akin to polio. She remains one of the five kids almost fully paralyzed by the devastating illness.

While most details surrounding the health scare are not known or have not been disclosed, the only similarities between the children hit with the disease are that they live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although two of the victims recently tested positive for human enterovirus-68 — a complication commonly linked with symptoms of polio — the other three affected children tested negative.

While polio has fortunately been mass eradicated by the life-saving vaccine in the past, a number of people around the world still hold the enterovirus within them. The virus can be neutral or cause extreme health concerns for the individual both early and later on in life.

According to the press release on the “illness paralyzes five kids” threat, loss of limbs can also result from the polio like disease.

"What we're seeing now is bad," Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California told USA Today. "The best case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well. It's like the old polio. It’s a huge health threat."

She added:

"This is really very rare," Van Haren added. "But we are asking any families who notice a sudden onset of weakness to see their doctors immediately. Their doctors should contact the California Department of Public Health. We don't have a final case count, but it's probably in the neighborhood of 25 cases, all in California."

Again, the testing has made it definitely certain that this paralyzing illness is not a new strain of polio, but without any cure or hope for recovery for these children in sight, it seems to be potentially as devastating. Medical officials are said to be working hard to find solutions as soon as possible.

Ryan enjoys writing about trending news headlines and entertainment topics. To stay up-to-date on his latest stories, you can follow him on Twitter @RyanArciero or on his community Facebook page, Top News Examiner.

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