A boy in Florida was paralyzed after a flu virus attacked his spinal cord. He was diagnosed with a rare inflammation of the spinal cord called transverse myelitis.
The condition manifested when he was nine months old. He was on life support for 20 days. Since the incident, he has regained movement of his hands, arms, and toes. However, he cannot walk and must use a wheelchair to move.
Damaged nerves can cause pain, abnormal sensations, paralysis, and lack of control over connected muscles. The boy continues to go to physical therapy and occupational therapy two times a week to deal with his symptoms.
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His parents want to raise awareness about transverse myelitis. The condition breaks down the sheath around nerves, called myelin, that protects it. It’s much like the insulation around an electrical cord. If it breaks, the nerve can be damaged. The condition happens in about 1,400 U.S. births each year.
The infection that causes the disease can come from many sources and types of bacteria. In this case, the boy was diagnosed with the flu 24 hours after entering the ICU for treatment.
The boy is now seven years old and understands his condition. He hasn’t let it slow him down and is patient with other kids who ask about his condition.