NEW YORK (NBC NEWS) – You may remember hearing stories of a mystery illness that caused sudden paralysis in more than 100 children in the United States last year. Researchers have now confirmed the condition was linked to the respiratory illness, enterovirus.
Scientists at the University of California in San Francisco found a strain of enterovirus in the respiratory secretions, and in one blood sample, of paralyzed children. They could not find any other bacteria that would cause these symptoms, even after testing the cerebrospinal fluid for every known infection.
Researchers aren’t sure why this new strain of enterovirus causes paralysis in a small percentage of children, but say there is an urgent need to find the underlying reasons.
None of the children afflicted with paralysis have fully recovered.