Girl paralyzed from common virus found in 34 states

Posted at 11:06 AM, Jan 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-21 11:36:34-05

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Albany first-grader is paralyzed and unable to breathe on her own after coming down with a common virus that doctors say has been especially hard on kids nationwide this year.

According to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for her treatment, McKenzie Andersen, 7, came down with what her family thought was a cold in December.

Family friend Bridgett Moody said Andersen started coughing and sneezing and then her respiratory symptoms got worse and doctors thought she had pneumonia.

Then, Andersen lost the ability to make facial expressions and move her limbs.

The GoFundMe page states that hospital staff diagnosed Andersen with enterovirus and a condition known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that enterovirusesare common and most people will show no symptoms or mild symptoms similar to a cold. Most people recover just fine, but a particular strain of enterovirus has been especially hard on kids this year.

According to the CDC, 107 children in 34 states have developed the sudden onset of paralysis now known as AFM since August. The CDC is still investigating a specific cause.

Only one child has fully recovered from the condition. Two thirds of children have showed some improvement in symptoms, while a third have not improved at all.

McKenzie Andersen is a student at Albany Christian School.

Danielle Bryant, the school’s vice principal, said Andersen’s diagnosis has been hard on her classmates and school staff, and they’ve been making cards and pictures to send to her in the hospital.

“We decided this last week that every time we make a card for McKenzie, we make one for someone else in the wing,” Bryant said. “So every week we’re sending up a new batch of cards and pictures for her.”

Andersen is listed in fair condition at Randall Children’s hospital.