Maybe you heard news reports this week about kids in California with a “polio-like syndrome.” Here’s a synopsis: Over the last 18 months, 5 kids have been identified by California’s Department of Public Health with a paralysis in one or more limbs. Multiple tests have been run on them. Poliovirus wasn’t found, but enterovirus-68 was isolated in 2 of the cases. There are hundreds of enteroviruses (poliovirus is one of them). Enterovirus-68 was first isolated back in the 1960s, but it usually causes cold-like symptoms instead of a paralysis. CA continues to run studies to determine if enterovirus-68 is the true cause of this exceedingly rare paralysis syndrome.
There aren’t any documented cases of enterovirus-68 causing paralysis in Arizona, but we’re continuing to monitor the situation closely. Other enteroviruses are commonly seen here, causing “summer colds” and mild respiratory illnesses. To prevent catching an enterovirus, you should wash your hands and keep sick children away from others. There’s no vaccine for enterovirus-68, although there is for polio. All kids should receive the polio vaccine to prevent its recurrence in this country.