Polio-Like Mystery Illness Afflicts Children in Northern California

In Northern California’s Bay Area, an illness that resembles polio is affecting children and doctors aren’t sure what it is. The affliction develops as a sudden weakness in the arms and legs or "symptoms of paralysis." If your child exhibits these signs, health officials recommend they see a doctor immediately.

"The disease resembles but is not the same as polio," said Dr. Keith Van Haren at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. "But this is serious. Most of the children we've seen so far have not recovered use of their arm or their leg."

Health officials are unsure if the illness is a virus but Van Haren, AP reports, has seen at least five cases in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as 20 cases across the Golden State and two were identified as a disease from the polio family called enterovirus-68.

While Van Haren is careful not to call this a "major epidemic," this new concern is at least a phenomenon that has yet to be resolved.


In Berkeley, a four-year-old girl named Sofia seemed to develop asthma but then she was unable to move her left arm and her limb is still paralyzed. One University of California, San Francisco neurology professor named Emmanuelle Waubant said that, while she doesn’t have hard evidence, some physicians believe this phenomenon begins as a harmless cold.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says their team is still researching this occurrence but that many other illnesses could be the culprit. Also: The two cases of EV-68 could be "an incidental finding," and the CDC isn’t looking for more cases outside of California.

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My scifi inclination is telling me that those anti-vaccer's have allowed the polio virus to incubate and mutate in humans, such that the efficacy of the old vaccine is diminished.

Scary stuff.