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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Much of the focus recently has been on the single diagnosed case of Ebola in Dallas, but there’s another health concern that’s worrying parents. Just ask Yadira Garcilazo of Allen, whose 11-year-old son is partially paralyzed by a virus that’s sweeping the country.
Bryan Sotelo was perfectly healthy a couple of months ago. Now he needs a tracheotomy to help him breathe. His family is worried it’s a respiratory illness known as Enterovirus D68.
“He got really sick. He was coughing and fever…” explained Gacilazo.
She took her son to an Allen hospital at the end of July and was diagnosed with a cold. Within a week, Sotelo started losing feeling in his right arm.
“I was completely scared when he told me the next day, ‘Mom I cannot move my arm.’ I say, ‘Are you kidding?’ He said, ‘I’m not kidding! Look!’ His arm like that.”
Garcilazo says right after that her son couldn’t move his legs. He’s now being treated for the respiratory illness Enterovirus D68 at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas by neurologist Dr. Benjamin Greenberg.
“We are seeing a lot of kids come down with common colds, but the majority of them …over 99% of them …go on to recover fully and do just fine. Very rarely in the weeks after the respiratory infection kids are coming back with weakness and requiring further treatment,” he said.
Greenberg said children are coming back with symptoms of paralysis within two to six weeks of a diagnosis.
“When we look back in history to the illness that has the closest connection to this, it was polio, which at its height paralyzed hundreds and thousands of children around the world.”
There is no medication or vaccine to treat this type of Enterovirus infection.
Sotelo who has been at the hospital since July and just started physical therapy, but his doctors say he still has a long road ahead.
“I feel happy because he can say mom,” said Garcilazo.
Children’s Medical Center has treated three children over the summer who had some kind of paralysis linked to Enterovirus. The hospital is now waiting on the CDC to see if it is the D68 strain.
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