5 California kids come down with paralyzing polio-like illness

Sofia Jarvis and her dad, Jeff Jarvis
February 25, 2014 3:12:48 AM PST
Five children in the California Bay Area are now paralyzed after coming down with a mysterious illness. The illness is similar to polio, which is has not been a problem in the U.S. for decades.

ABC7 San Francisco reports that the number of sick children could be as high as 20.

Sofia Jarvis, age four, is one of the victims. Her left arm is now paralyzed. She is one of five children in the area -- ages two to 16 -- who've come down with a rare, polio-like illness over the past 18 months.

The symptoms have ranged from restricted movement in one limb to severe weakness in both legs and arms. Some patients developed paralysis in all four limbs and were not improving with treatment.

Doctors have been working to identify the illness and its source. There is a belief that it's a virus, but that remains unproven.

Researchers tell ABC7 some of the children first showed symptoms of the common cold.

Doctors do not believe this mystery illness will become an epidemic. They said these cases are extremely rare and they aren't trying to scare anyone, but they do want to get the word out.

Get more on this story from our sister station, KGO-TV.


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