STANFORD, Calif. — More than a dozen children in California have developed an extremely rare, poliolike syndrome within the past year that within days paralyzed one or more of the children's arms or legs, Stanford University researchers say.
The illness is still being investigated and appears to be very unusual, but Dr. Keith Van Haren at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University warned Monday that any child showing a sudden onset of weakness in their limbs or symptoms of paralysis should be immediately seen by a doctor.
Doctors are not sure if it's a virus or something else. Van Haren said he had studied five cases from Monterey up through the San Francisco Bay Area, including two who were identified with the disease enterovirus-68, which is from the same family as the polio viruses. He said there have been about 20 cases statewide.
"It does not appear to represent a major epidemic but only a very rare phenomenon," he said, noting similar outbreaks in Asia and Australia.