B.C. reports two enterovirus cases in child and teen with polio-like symptoms

Health officials in British Columbia say they have seen two young people infected with enterovirus D68 who also suffered from polio-like symptoms.

TORONTO — Health officials in British Columbia say they have seen two young people infected with enterovirus D68 who also suffered from polio-like symptoms.

One of the two, a teenager, is still on a breathing machine a month after being in hospital.

The other, a child between five and 10 years old, developed weakness in one arm that has not improved nearly a month after it developed.

Late last week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control alerted doctors in that country to be on the lookout for polio-like symptoms in children diagnosed with enterovirus D68, which has been infecting children in various parts of North America in recent weeks.

They say a number of children diagnosed with the virus have also had partial paralysis or weakness in a limb that set in around the time of infection.

The CDC says its not clear the infection causes the polio-like symptoms, but they need to collect information on how frequently this is occurring.

The two B.C. cases were reported to ProMED, an online infectious diseases newsletter commonly used by doctors and researchers to inform that community about disease developments.

The B.C. health officials who reported the cases — from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and two health authorities in the province — said the two young people lived several hundred kilometres apart and had no connection to one another.

“Given the seriousness and prolonged duration of paralytic findings in these two recent cases of laboratory-confirmed EV-D68 in B.C., we thought it was pertinent that we share this information,” they wrote.

They suggested a comparison of the genetic sequences of viruses taken from a variety of enterovirus D68 patients across North America should be conducted to see if there are patterns that point to a link with more severe disease, including polio-like symptoms.

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