US doctors expect enterovirus epidemic that paralyzes children


Outbreaks of the paralyzing enterovirus EV-D68 occur approximately every two years in the United States, and a new surge in cases could occur in 2024. This was reported by ARS Technical.

Report informs via ARS Technical that about a decade ago, hundreds of healthy children in the United States had the problem of their legs suddenly weakening. About half required intensive care and a quarter required mechanical ventilation. For some, paralysis has become permanent. It turned out that the symptoms were related to EV-D68, one of the enterovirus species. It is linked to the polio virus, which caused paralysis and respiratory failure in children decades ago.

120 cases of EV-D68 infection were reported in 2014; 153 cases in 2016 and 238 cases in 2018. There was no increase in cases in 2020, probably due to stricter compliance with measures to prevent viral infections during the pandemic, such as quarantine, wearing masks, careful hygiene, remote working.

Although scientists predicted that the epidemic would be worse, there were 47 cases of infection in 2022. It is not known why there is a decrease in incidence, but this may be due to new mutations of the virus or increased immunity of children.

Doctors expect a new epidemic in 2024. Modeling shows this will be less busy than in 2022.