Tuesday, September 30, 2014 Health Officials Unsure of Link Between Paralysis and Virus; Virus Now in 40 States Colorado health officials now report that 10 children are experiencing paralysis and muscle weakness that may or may not be linked to Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68), a respiratory infection that has now spread to 40 states. According to a report in the Denver Post, 8 of 9 children originally diagnosed with myelitis were tested for viral outbreaks, with 4 testing positive for EV-D68, and 4 testing positive for rhinovirus or another enterovirus. At the time the Denver Post report was written, officials had not provided testing information on the 10th child. No definitive connection between EV-D68 and the paralysis and weakness has been established. The Denver Post reports that "there are no cases where the children are completely unable to move, just varying degrees of muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, weakness in the neck and trunk, and difficulty walking." According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, the children tested negative for West Nile virus and polio. In response to the reports, the CDC has issued a health advisory asking that health departments inform the CDC of any patients under 21 who have experienced acute onset of focal limb weakness on or after August 1, and who have an MRI showing a spinal cord lesion largely restricted to gray matter. While researchers look to establish or eliminate EV-D68's role in the paralysis and weakness, the Washington Post reports that the virus has been found in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Children with asthma or other preexisting respiratory problems tend to be especially hard-hit by EV-D68. According to the Washington Post article, 277 cases have been reported to date. Earlier this year, 20 children in California were reported to be experiencing similar neurological symptoms, with 2 testing positive for EV-D68. According to a story from the Associated Press, the CDC is still unsure if there is a connection between the virus and the paralysis and weakness in the California cases.