Of Germs and Genes

In 2014, a strange new illness emerged in the US.

Kids woke up healthy but could be paralyzed by nightfall. While some were permanently disabled, others—even in the same family—barely got a fever.

Acute flaccid myelitis, like polio decades before, seemed to strike at random.
As AFM reports surged, epidemiologist Priya Duggal noticed similarities between this new disease and polio. She wondered whether the same biological mechanisms were at work in both.

Now she’s combing the human genome for clues—and what she finds could explain susceptibility to not just these viruses but to pathogens no one has studied yet.

Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health

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