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Doctors puzzled by polio-like illness crippling California kids: ‘What we’re seeing now is bad’

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As many as 25 children in California have been afflicted with a rare polio-like illness leaving them with paralyzed limbs and respiratory problems, USA Today reports.

While testing has shown that  none of the children have polio, the new illness has much in common with the infectious viral disease which was all but eliminated following the introduction of a vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1954.

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“What we’re seeing now is bad. The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well,” said Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. “It’s like the old polio.”

The first reported case appeared in 2012 when Sofia Jarvis in Berkeley began to experience wheezing and difficulty breathing. The 2-year-old spent days in the intensive care unit with doctors believing that she had asthma.

Following a check-up her mother, Jessica Tomei, realized something else was wrong.

“As we were leaving the doctor’s office, I noticed that she went to grab something with her left arm and she stopped, midway,” Tomei said.

Sofia was brought to Dr. Van Haren’s clinic with “a unique set of symptoms” where she was treated with steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, used to reduce the severity of infections by giving the body antibodies to protect against bacteria and viruses.

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“None of it helped,” said Van Haren, a neurology professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“He told us right away that the prognosis was really poor and that she’s not going to get better,” Tomei said.

Today, at age 4, Sofia’s left arm is paralyzed and she has weakness in her left leg as well as slight breathing issues.

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Since the diagnosis Dr. Van Haren and other neurologists, worried about the possibility of the appearance of a new disease, have searched through recent medical files where they found two more cases, both in the San Francisco Bay area.

“We don’t have a final case count, but it’s probably in the neighborhood of 25 cases, all in California,” said Van Haren.

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California is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to see if there are cases outside California. So far none have been reported.

Van Haren suspects the culprit is an enterovirus,  a family of viruses that includes polio but also the milder hand, foot and mouth disease, common in infants and children.

Unfortunately while there’s a vaccine for the polio virus, “we don’t have vaccines for the other enteroviruses,” Van Haren said.

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“The California Department of Public Health has asked health care providers to report any polio-like cases they might identify and send specimens so that we can better assess the situation,” said Carol Glaser, chief of the encephalitis and special investigation section of the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento.

[Portrait of a little girl with thermometer in bed on Shutterstock]


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‘Breadth and scale’ of nationwide protests is ‘staggering’: NYU history professor

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Protests continued to grow in size in cities and towns from coast-to-coast -- and around the world.

"As a historian of social movements in the U.S., I am hard pressed to think of any time in the past when we have had two straight weeks of large-scale protests in hundreds of places, from suburbs to big cities," NYU history Prof. Tom Sugrue posted on Twitter.

"The breadth and scale of #Floyd protests is staggering," he continued.

"We have had some huge one-day demonstrations, e.g. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963); antinuclear march in NYC (1982), and Women's March (2017). We have widespread, simultaneous protests, such as in the days following MLK, Jr.'s assassination (1968)," he explained. "But the two together--very unusual."

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Incel blew his hand off — and may have been planning for suicide bomber attack on ‘hot’ cheerleaders: report

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A young man in Virginia was photographed for his mugshot with extensive facial injuries.

"A 23-year-old Virginia man who appeared to be planning an incel bomb attack on "hot cheerleaders" accidentally blew off his hand with explosives, authorities say," BuzzFeed News reported Saturday. "Cole Carini was charged in federal court on Friday connection with the plot after he allegedly lied to FBI agents by saying his extensive injuries were the result of a lawnmower accident."

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Big turnout for protest in Texas town known as a ‘haven’ for the Ku Klux Klan

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Protesters gathered in Vidor, Texas on Saturday for a rally against racism and police violence.

https://twitter.com/JordanJamesTV/status/1269366486189080576

The East Texas town has long had a reputation for racism.

Vidor is a small city of about 11,000 people near the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from the Louisiana border. Despite the fact that Beaumont, a much bigger city just 10 minutes away, is quite integrated, Vidor is not. There are very few blacks there; it's mostly white. That is in large part because of a history of racism in Vidor, a past that continues to haunt the present," Keith Oppenheim reported for CNN in 2006.

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