Enterovirus D68 linked to illegal immigration is behind fatal polio-like illness killing American ch
A strange virus that began to spread rapidly after multiple waves of illegal immigrant children were shipped into the U.S. from Latin America last year has been shown in a new study to be directly related to the "polio-like illness" that's reportedly infected at least 112 children in 34 states, and killed nearly a dozen others. Known as enterovirus D68, or EV-D68, the mystery virus picked up speed dramatically last fall, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that the number of new cases reported in 2014 was significantly higher than in any previous recorded year. And now, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) have found the genetic signature of this enterovirus in patients diagnosed with a related illness known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). After looking at every other possible factor that could have triggered AFM in the patients studied, the team verified that EV-D68 was, in fact, the cause of every case of AFM. A relatively new strain of EV-D68 known as B1, it turns out, which emerged about four years ago, was found to be the trigger of AFM, manifesting symptoms similar to the polio virus and another closely related nerve-damaging virus known as EV-D70. For the first time, researchers also discovered EV-D68 B1 in a blood sample taken from a child with acute paralytic illness. And many others with AFM were also determined to have EV-D68 B1 in their respiratory secretions, though no EV-D68 B1 was found in any of the patients' cerebrospinal fluid. This isn't surprising, say researchers, because polio virus is generally extremely difficult to detect in cerebrospinal fluid. "This suggests that it's not only the virus, but also patients' individual biology that determines what disease they may present with," stated Dr. Charles Chiu, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of laboratory medicine and director of the UCSF Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center about the variances in where EV-D68 B1 has been discovered in patients diagnosed with AFM. "Given that none of the children have fully recovered [from EV-D68], we urgently need to continue investigating this new strain of EV-D68 and its potential to cause acute flaccid myelitis."
EV-D68 detected in sick children from Latin America, confirms study
Because EV-D68 wasn't found in any of the children's cerebrospinal fluid, researchers suspect that their AFM symptoms may be a result of their bodies' abnormal immune responses to the virus rather than the virus itself directly causing nerve damage. Either this or the timing of when the samples were collected, more than a week after the children began showing symptoms, made the virus appear elusive. "The lack of detectable virus in CSF could also mean that the neurological symptoms are coming from an aberrant immune response to recent EV-D68 infection and not because the virus is directly invading neurons," added Chiu in his paper, which was published in the British journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. From mid-August 2014 to January 15, 2015, the CDC and various state public health laboratories confirmed more than 1,100 cases of EV-D68 in 49 states and the District of Columbia -- and almost all of these cases were in children. The CDC estimates that millions of others likely contracted mild versions of EV-D68 as well, but says these cases went unreported since most of those infected didn't get tested for the virus or receive medical treatment. "The CDC hasn't suggested reasons for the current uptick or its origin," wrote investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson about the mysterious, polio-like disease in a recent article referencing a study published in the Virology Journal. This study confirmed that EV-D68 was present in many of the 3,375 young, ill people from eight Latin American countries that were shipped to secret locations throughout the U.S. last year. "Without that answer, some question whether the disease is being spread by the presence of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children from Central America admitted to the U.S. in the past year."
Vaccine contaminants also linked to increase in EV-D68 cases
It has also been speculated that vaccines might be to blame for the sudden uptick in EV-D68 cases this past year. Though enteroviruses are quite common, with as many as 15 million people annually contracting mild forms of them, EV-D68 is unique in that it typically results in more serious complications than the more typical flu-like symptoms, including polio-like paralysis. John P. Thomas, writing for Health Impact News, suspects that weaponized mycoplasmas in some vaccines may be causing intracellular infections inside the body that directly interfere with various aspects of cellular machinery. These disruptions include damage to cellular metabolism, energy generation and even the division of nuclear material inside the cell.
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