6-year-old boy dies of rare mystery disease spreading in Wash. state
A 6-year-old boy who has been treated for the disease for more than two weeks passed away Sunday night.
The boy, 6-year-old Daniel Ramirez of Bellingham, was one of eight children being treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital for a disease that has baffled medical staff.
KOMO News spoke to Daniel’s parents on Friday, and they said he was sent to the hospital with cold symptoms and dizziness. He was paralyzed within a few hours and never recovered.
Doctors believe Daniel and the other children may have contracted a rare virus known as acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM – but that hasn’t yet been confirmed.
There weren’t any cases in Washington state last year. There were just two cases in 2014 – including 15-year-old Hayden Werdal. He now needs a wheelchair – but his family is grateful he is improving.
“We thought that Hayden’s case was the most severe it could get – paralyzed from the neck down,” said Hayden’s mom, Heather. “That is scary for us because we didn’t think it could (cause death).”
The Centers for Disease Control says the agency is investigating a spike in AFM cases. Fifty people have gotten sick in 24 states this year – and it’s still unclear how someone gets the virus or exactly what causes it.
Health officials investigate 8 cases of kids at Children’s with neurological illnesses
SEATTLE — Health officials are investigating the cases of eight children who lost strength or movement in one or more arms and legs and were admitted to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The Washington Health Department is leading a joint investigation with Children’s and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is looking into the possibility of a condition known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).
There are no confirmed cases of AFM.
AFM is a rare condition. It affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. Symptoms typically include sudden weakness in one or more arms or legs, along with loss of muscle tone and decreased or absent reflexes. There is no specific treatment for AFM.
The exact cause of AFM is unknown, health officials said. Many viruses and germs are linked to AFM, including common germs that can cause colds and sore throats, and respiratory infections. It can also be caused by poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses, mosquito-borne viruses (such as West Nile Virus or Zika virus) and autoimmune conditions.
The children admitted to Children’s are from 3 to 14 years old. Three are from King County, one is from Pierce County, two are from Franklin County and two are from Whatcom County. The cases occurred over the past six weeks.
Three are still at Children’s. The others have been released.