When six-year-old Daniel Ramirez’s family recently brought him to Seattle Children’s Hospital on October 15, he showcased bizarre symptoms like slurred speech, drooling, incontinence, and pain in his leg. At first, they thought he just had a stomach ache, but his symptoms quickly got worse.
There, Ramirez’s family learned he had contracted acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a virus that targets the brain and spinal cord.
AFM causes a fever which often leads to paralysis in children, and over 100 children were infected in 2014.
The Daily Mail quotes Dr. Avindra Nath, chief in charge of studying infections affecting the nervous system at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, as saying, “You hate to be an alarmist, but there’s reason to have some concern. What we don’t know is where are these cases. Are they clustered? Do they all look alike? Getting more information on these cases would be helpful.”
With the love and support of family and help from a dedicated team of physicians, the little boy fought for his life.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, the Daily Mail reports, “the disease was too advanced for doctors to control” and Daniel passed away on October 30.
On the Praying for Daniel Ramirez Facebook page, his loved ones write, “Daniel was an amazingly sweet little boy who could put a smile on anyone’s face. He had a personality that made him loved by everyone who ever met him. Daniel was taken from us too soon, but his memory will live on, and he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, sweet Daniel!”
If you’d like to help the family “give him the celebration of life he deserves,” they’ve set up a GoFundMe page.
AFM is stumping experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because the cause of this specific illness is still unknown. Treatment is also a mystery to doctors who have seen hundreds of children suffer in the past few years.
Daniel was one of eight children recently admitted to Seattle Children’s Hospital with AFM, according to the Kansas City Star.
The CDC issued a report in September warning that there had been a recent surge in the number of children contracting AFM, according to the Daily Mail. Doctors fear the outbreak could be even worse this year. For your reference, AFM patients are often limp, but children with general transverse myelitis tend to be stiff. Kids with AFM symptoms also tend to lose control of body parts, including facial muscles and limbs.
What can you do to keep your child safe? If they are exhibiting any of the symptoms of AFM, immediately go to the hospital. Though causes are unknown, if caught early enough, children’s lives can be saved.
(via Daily Mail)