Boston Children’s Hospital Treating Patients With Polio-Like Symptoms

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Children’s Hospital said on Tuesday that it is monitoring patients who have developed polio-like symptoms, possibly related to Enterovirus D68.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating nine cases in Colorado where symptoms consisted of weakness in one or more limbs and an MRI showed distinctive findings in the central portion of the spinal cord causing weakness.

Dr. Mark Gorman of Boston Children’s Hospital said at a Tuesday press conference that patients who meet three sets of criteria will have additional samples sent to be tested by the CDC.

Patients who are under 21 years old, have experienced limb weakness on or after Aug. 1 and have an MRI that show lesions near the spinal cord will be tested for Enterovirus D68.

Gorman said Children’s Hospital has seen four patients who met the criteria set by the CDC. Of the four, one had a nasal sample that was negative for Enterovirus D68 and the other results have not yet come in.

The patients admitted to Children’s Hospital range from 4 to 15 years old. None of the four had Enterovirus D68 detected in their spinal fluid.

One of the four children has since been discharged from the hospital.

There is not a clear relationship between Enterovirus and the polio-like symptoms, doctors said. Gorman added that it is a two-part illness where patients develop respiratory symptoms followed by neurological symptoms about two weeks later.

Dr. Mallika Marshall With More on Polio-like Cases

“I should be clear that these patients do not have polio,” said Gorman.

Gorman added that Children’s Hospital doctors are working with medical centers nationally to gather more information and determine how to help children and families impacted by the symptoms.

CBS Denver reported that nine children were recently taken to an Aurora, Colo., hospital with muscle weakness and some with loss of feeling in their arms or legs. Colorado doctors ran additional tests and four of the patients tested positive for Enterovirus D68.

Families are reminded to take preventative steps to help avoid illness in themselves and their children.

Gorman said good hand washing is the first step to avoiding illness. He also said that if parents or children have an active illness, they should stay home, adding that anyone with unusual symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kendall Buhl reports

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