Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is there a link between enterovirus-68 and paralysis, high altitude, or even polio? Also, CDC announces first US Ebola case in Texas

News sources report that ten or more children are suffering from progressive limb paralysis.  Four or more patients seem to have evidence of Enterovirus-68, which is causing severe respiratory disease in some children (especially those with asthma, sometimes resulting in the need for ventilators). 
There is no evidence of polio virus (although, as in the video below, some people believe that the enterovirus could be biologically related to polio).   However, at least in the early stages, many of the cases of both the respiratory disease and then paralysis started in Colorado or high altitude areas. It’s not clear if this is coincidence, or elevation could mean anything. 

It is interesting that adults do not seem to get the disease.  That suggests that the virus has been around before and that older generations have immunity due to previous exposure.  Otherwise, we could have a tremendous "social distancing" issue looming as a public health measure. 
In my own novel manuscript “Angel’s Brother”, there is a bizarre virus epidemic that starts in the highest elevations (around Leadville, CO) and gradually moves down.  The virus in my book causes skin symptoms (in areas of less circulation) and neurological symptoms (some patients believe they are in someone else’s body).  Most cases are fatal in the beginning, but some people benefit from infection.  But this is a sci-fi scenario.
Live News Radio has a story about the enterovirus and paralysis here
I was weaker than normal for a male, both as a kid or an adult.  I have less upper body strength than normal, and less endurance for explosive activity.  Was this genetics?  Could it have to do with having the measles in 1950 just before my seventh birthday?  There is some evidence of developmental issues in my narrative report cards in first grade, but the problems really became evident in third grade.  Oddly, it was then that I suddenly wanted to take piano and was very good at it.  In Army Basic at age 24, I wound up recycled into Special Training, but I did improve in physical strength and get out of there more quickly than other soldiers did.  So it is really hard to explain my “disability”.  
I had very severe "Asian flu" in tenth grade at age 15, but never anything as severe as an adult.  Some viral and infectious diseases do seem to strike the young harder, until they have built up natural immunity.  

Update: later Tuesday

The CDC announced that the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the US is being treated in Dallas, after returning from Liberia.  The master CDC reference is here. The CNN story is here

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