Acute neurologic illness of unknown etiology in children - Colorado, August-September 2014

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014 Oct 10;63(40):901-2.


On September 12, 2014, CDC was notified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment of a cluster of nine children evaluated at Children's Hospital Colorado with acute neurologic illness characterized by extremity weakness, cranial nerve dysfunction (e.g., diplopia, facial droop, dysphagia, or dysarthria), or both. Neurologic illness onsets occurred during August 8-September 15, 2014. The median age of the children was 8 years (range = 1-18 years). Other than neck, back, or extremity pain in some patients, all had normal sensation. All had a preceding febrile illness, most with upper respiratory symptoms, occurring 3-16 days (median = 7 days) before onset of neurologic illness. Seven of eight patients with magnetic resonance imaging of the spinal cord had nonenhancing lesions of the gray matter of the spinal cord spanning multiple levels, and seven of nine with magnetic resonance imaging of the brain had nonenhancing brainstem lesions (most commonly the dorsal pons). Two of five with magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbosacral region had gadolinium enhancement of the ventral nerve roots of the cauda equina. Eight children were up to date on polio vaccination. Eight have not yet fully recovered neurologically.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Colorado
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology