Scientists have found the strongest evidence that the virus is to blame for a mysterious disease that can quickly paralyze children .
A very rare condition called acute cold myelitis or AFM is similar to polio disease. The first reports of the disease came from the US state of California in 2012. Since then, the US has been experiencing an increasing epidemic every other year, from late summer to fall.
Doctors have long believed that some viruses, known as enteroviruses, cause AFM. But they did not have enough evidence to prove it.
So the researchers tried something new. They checked the spinal fluid of the patient for signs that the immune system was fighting the invasive virus. Children who become ill have antibodies that target enteroviruses.
Dr. Michael Wilson is at the University of California, San Francisco. He helped lead the research. He said the evidence did not prove their idea. But it is a powerful sign that enteroviruses cause AFM.
His team reported the findings in the Nature Medicine publication.
The study was co-authored by Dr. Riley Bove with the same university as Wilson. Bove's son developed AFM at the age of four. He noted, "If you have no reason, you can't have a vaccine." . "
590 cases have been confirmed in the United States since 201
The son of Bove Luke demonstrates the model. His whole family had a cold in the summer of 2014. A few days later, Luke woke up with a weakness in his neck that traveled down his shoulder. Up to days he had paralysis throughout his body and difficulty breathing. He recovered slowly. Today he still has some paralysis of the neck, shoulder and arm.
Experts believe either the embryo or the fetal body's reaction damages the nerves in the spinal cord of patients such as Luke. They are preparing for another possible increase in cases next summer.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Lauran Noergard told this story to the Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted it to study English. Kelly Jean Kelly is the editor.
Words in this story
antibodies – n. substances produced by the disease control organism
embryo – n. very small living creature causing disease
immune – cf. is not able to be affected by disease
outbreak – n. the sudden onset or increase of a fight or disease
paralysis – v. to render a person or animal unable to move or feel all or part of the body
vertebral – cf. of, connected or affecting the spine