SAN FRANCISCO, March 30 (UPI) -- A strain of enterovirus, a respiratory disease that sickened hundreds of children in a 2014 outbreak, could be linked to partial paralysis in some of those patients, a new study says.
Enterovirus is a fairly common respiratory virus, but one particular strain of it, enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, was diagnosed in hundreds of patients during an outbreak in 2014. Though it's common, this strain caused severe symptoms, resulting in higher than normal hospitalizations and at least one death.
A study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found there was a link between patients diagnosed with EV-D68 and acute flaccid myelitis, or limb paralysis.
The scientists studied two clusters of patients who had acute flaccid myelitis at the height of the 2014 outbreaks. Of those 48 patients, 64 percent tested positive for EV-D68.
"These findings strengthen the putative association between enterovirus D68 and acute flaccid myelitis and the contention that acute flaccid myelitis is a rare yet severe clinical manifestation of enterovirus D68 infection in susceptible hosts," the study, published in scientific journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, concluded.
Not every child diagnosed with the virus, though, had paralysis as a symptom. In one case, two siblings had EV-D68, but only one of them exhibited acute flaccid myelitis.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 1,153 people tested positive for EV-D68 between mid-August 2014 and Jan. 15, 2015. Symptoms include running nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches, much like a typical cold.