Enterovirus: Clue to Paralysis

Scientists now believe a mutated strain of enterovirus D68 that’s more polio-like than other strains in recent years may be responsible for the paralysis of US children following last fall’s nationwide outbreak.

Researchers sequenced the genes of a virus found in respiratory secretions from Colorado and California children who experienced muscle weakness or paralysis, according to the study published yesterday in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

“While the research does not provide a definitive link—that would only be established if the virus were found in the spinal fluid and it was not—it provides the strongest evidence to date of the link between enterovirus D68 and paralysis,” Ariana Eunjung Cha writes.

Another facet of the mystery remains: Why do some infected children suffer paralysis while others do not.

Washington Post

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