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CMSC News: Neurologic Illness in US Children: CDC Issues Health Advisory to Increase Reporting

Wednesday, October 22, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rachelle Ramirez
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Update and background

In August 2014, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Children’s Hospital Colorado reported a cluster of 9 pediatric patients hospitalized with acute neurologic illness of undetermined etiology characterized by focal limb weakness and abnormalities of the spinal cord gray matter on MRI. CDC has been working with partners in Colorado to investigate. In response to this cluster, CDC presented a national request for information on additional cases meeting the criteria of the CDC case definition for illness:


Case Definition

  1. Patient ≤21 years of age,
  2. Acute onset of focal limb weakness,
  3. On or after August 1, 2014, AND
  4. An MRI showing a spinal cord lesion largely restricted to gray matter.


As of October 15, CDC has verified reports of 37 cases in 16 states that meet its case definition. It is also working to verify more than a dozen additional reported cases.


How you can help

The purpose of this email is to increase awareness of the neurologic illness under investigation with the aim of increasing case reporting from neurologists, radiologists/neuroradiologists, neuroscience professionals, and other healthcare professionals nationwide.


  • Forward this email to all colleagues, including infectious disease specialists, intensive care physicians, pediatricians, neurologists, radiologists/neuroradiologists, infection preventionists, and primary care providers, as well as to emergency departments and microbiology laboratories.
  • Post information on your website with a links to the CDC Health Advisory and webpage about the investigation. Suggested text for your website, or you can create your own:
    • Neurologic Illness in U.S. Children: CDC Issues Health Advisory to Increase Reporting

As of October 15, 2014, CDC has verified reports of 37 children with neurologic illness in 16 states. CDC urges healthcare professionals to be vigilant for and report neurologic illness using CDC’s case definition. Learn more about the investigation.   

  • Mention the CDC Health Advisory and investigation during professional meetings, conferences, and events.
  • Post information in newsletters and/or other mediums to access your members, users and subscribers.


Information for Parents

Many parents are concerned to hear about these cases. The following is a CDC web feature, developed as a resource for parents: Unexplained Paralysis Hospitalizes Children. We encourage you to download, print, and distribute it to parents through schools, child care facilities, doctor’s offices, clinics, faith communities, other community settings.


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