Polio-like sickness in Northern California

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Center for Disease Control officials are currently looking into about 20 cases of children dealing with polio-like symptoms in Northern California. This current problem has even gotten the attention of Senator Barbara Boxer.

Children affected range in age from two to 12 years old.

Doctors at Stanford University say just this past week they have discovered several children that have not been able to use their arms or legs.

"These children are presented with one or more limbs being paralyzed, in an illness that looks like, but is not polio," said Doctor Royce Johnson, Kern Medical Center Chief of Infectious Disease.

Doctors have not been able to identify exactly what the disease is, but they say the first symptoms are similar to the common cold.

There hasn't been a reported case of polio since the 1960's.

"Flu-like illness, fever, muscle aches, you could have aseptic meningitis, the more severe cases then would develop paralysis," said Johnson.

Although there has been about 20 cases reported in the Bay Area, doctors at the Kern Medical Center say it's not a local problem.

Doctors here in Kern County say they have seen one case of paralysis recently, but it was not related to the polio-like symptoms.

"Gentleman at the hospital who had paralysis of all four limbs, but this was not related to the spinal cord, it was actually related to the peripheral nerves," said Johnson.

The children suffering from the rare disease in the Bay Area have not recovered the use of their limbs.

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