Polio has long been one of the most feared diseases in the world. The US experienced a huge polio epidemic in the 1950’s when it paralyzed 20,000 people in one year. A vaccine did however stop polio, in the US and now only 3 countries in the world, have reported cases of polio: Afghnistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
Five children in California however have exhibited ‘polio-like’ symptoms. Neurologists identified that these children developed paralysis in their limbs, despite all 5 being vaccinated against polio.
The affected children did not regain their motor function after treatment. They also showed muscle weakness and patterns of damage in their spin, similar to polio sufferers. Doctors are now asking other health care professionals to be on the lookout for similar cases. The American Academy of Neurology will be discussing these kids at their 66th annual meeting in Philadelphia later this year.
Polio has been eradicated in the US for more than 30 years. While doctors are confident these kids are not suffering from the disease, it is worrying to see the polio like symptoms which affects their motor functions. To keep polio out of the US parents must continue to get their kids vaccinated.