It’s Not Polio…
But, What Is It?
A new mysterious disease has California doctors stumped.
The unknown virus they’re facing is leaving patients paralyzed, closely mimicking polio, but doctors have no idea what it is.
So far, here’s what they do know:
- The virus affects children.
- Victims experience a minor respiratory infection first.
- Days later, they develop paralysis in one or both arms and legs.
- So far, the paralysis seems permanent – none of the patients have recovered mobility even after six months.
- The patients haven’t traveled overseas.
- Possible culprits like West Nile Virus and botulism have been ruled out.
Most people who get polio never know they’re sick. Those that do get sick usually report minor initial symptoms, like a respiratory infection. But one percent of those who contract polio have a neurologic reaction that results in paralysis or extreme weakness.
There’s just one problem. The polio virus has been eradicated in the United States. And none of these children have tested positive for polio.
Doctors aren’t sure what to do. They haven’t been able to isolate the cause. At this point, it’s a waiting game. They’re asking for medical centers to monitor patients closely and report similar symptoms immediately, so they can zero in on a source.
This story brings home two important facts.
First, our healthcare system simply does not know about everything out there that can make you sick. Viruses and bacteria mutate so quickly, there are always new diseases that can become new threats.
Second, when faced with a new disease, our healthcare system just doesn’t have the answers. It’s not anyone’s fault. They have to scramble to learn what they’re up against and in that time frame, more people become infected.
An Onslaught of New Diseases
New diseases … well, frankly, they’re nothing new.
New diseases crop up every year.
In 2013, the two most worrisome diseases were a new version of SARS, a deadly respiratory infection that came out of the Middle East, and a new version of the deadly bird flu that broke out in China.
When a new disease breaks out, the medical community scrambles to contain it—to prevent its spread. They work to treat the victims, but in most cases, the best they can do is treat symptoms and hope the victim will recover.
Designing a cure or a vaccine is difficult and takes a lot of time.
The polio-like outbreak in California is no different.
The best lead doctors have on this current mysterious outbreak is the possibility that it is an enterovirus. In the late sixties another version of that virus caused more than 70 cases of paralysis. Two of the current victims have tested positive for enterovirus, albeit a different strain.
If this latest outbreak is due to an enterovirus, it is especially frightening because they are highly contagious. The good news is that most people who catch them won’t develop paralysis.
Keep Yourself Safe with These Tips
If one of these infections were to become widespread—and the World Health Organization warns that this is a distinct possibility—your best protection would be to already have a strong personal defense plan.
The first step is to understand the disease you’re dealing with. Preventing infection from west Nile virus, for example, requires a different approach than protecting yourself from SARS.
Pay attention to the news, learn how a virus spreads, and take steps to prevent it from entering your household.
The next step is to step up your personal hygiene. During any widespread outbreak, the simple act of washing your hands more often can drastically reduce your chance of becoming infected.
Wash your hands:
- Before you eat.
- After you get home.
- After touching “high-germ” objects (doorknobs, telephones, keyboards) at work.
- After using the restroom, of course.
- In addition to washing your hands more often, try to touch your face less often.
Finally, take steps to boost your immune system.
- Spend time in the sun or take a vitamin D supplement.
- Take a probiotic supplement.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Find ways to cope with stress that work for you.
- Eat plenty of fresh foods—especially fruits and vegetables.
The development of new diseases is no small thing. Eventually, one of these viruses is likely to trigger a pandemic. If you know how to protect yourself, you cut your chances of getting sick during an outbreak, and that could mean the difference between life and death.
P.S. – Survive the post-antibiotic era. The scary truth is the drugs we rely on to treat infections are fast becoming useless. Doctors and hospitals are helpless to treat mutant strains of MRSA, gonorrhea, and C.Diff.
But you don’t have to be helpless. Find out how you can secure your own supply of an infection-crushing antibiotic alternative. Details here.