Girl, seven, paralyzed by mysterious & # 039; polio-like disease & # 039; can finally walk a year later

A seven-year-old girl finally walks almost a year after she was paralyzed by a rare polio-like disease.

Last year, during the weekend of Labor Day, Olivia Hanson, then six, came with a sore throat and fever.

But shortly after she went to the ER, she developed muscle weakness and eventually she was left completely paralyzed, she reported Fox 17.

After performing countless tests, doctors in Grand Rapids, Michigan, diagnosed her with acute weak myelitis (AFM), an infection that causes sudden paralysis.

Olivia was on a ventilator, bedridden and struggling for her life, and doctors told her mother they were unsure if she would ever walk again.

But primary school is walking again and – despite some physical limitations – her parents say that they feel that Olivia is her old self again.

Last year the disease affected more than 200 children in 40 US states. Some children recovered completely, while others were still partially paralyzed.

Olivia Hanson, seven years old, from Grands Rapids, Michigan, got a sore throat and a high fever in September 2018. On the photo: Hanson, right, with her brother

Olivia Hanson, seven years old, from Grands Rapids, Michigan, got a sore throat and a high fever in September 2018. On the photo: Hanson, right, with her brother

Within a week Olivia (photo) was paralyzed and doctors diagnosed her with acute weak myelitis

Within a week Olivia (photo) was paralyzed and doctors diagnosed her with acute weak myelitis

The rare disease affects the nervous system and is most similar to the polio virus. Pictured: Olivia

The rare disease affects the nervous system and is most similar to the polio virus. Pictured: Olivia

Within a week Olivia (left and right) was paralyzed and doctors diagnosed her with acute weak myelitis. The rare disease affects the nervous system and is most similar to the polio virus

& # 39; Maybe she has changed with her physical limitations and can't do things, (but) her mind, her heart, is back, & # 39; said her mother, Alecia, to Fox 17. & # 39; I have my little girl. & # 39;

In September 2018, Olivia spent the Labor Day weekend playing with her friends, holding water balloon fights, and swimming in the pool.

But on Sunday she got a high fever. If the fever did not break, Alecia brought her to the emergency room at the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

Olivia was admitted to the hospital and about 48 hours later her condition dropped rapidly.

& # 39; I knew something was really wrong. She (conscious) code about her and she was in respiratory problems, & # 39; Alecia told Fox 17.

& # 39; You just see your child lying there and you can't hug them, and you think, "When's the last time?" (And you are) trying to remember those moments and all the daily things that you take for granted. & # 39;

After doctors performed several tests, Olivia was diagnosed with AFM.

AFM is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system. Specifically, it attacks the area of ​​the spinal cord called gray matter, weakening the muscles and reflexes of the body.

Symptoms often arise after a viral infection, such as the enterovirus or West Nile virus, but often no clear cause has been found.

Patients begin to develop flu-like symptoms, including sneezing and coughing. This slowly changes into muscle weakness, difficulty in moving the eyes and then polio-like symptoms, including depression in the face and difficulty in swallowing.

Outbreaks of AFM occur approximately every two years. In the US there have been outbreaks in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

There is no specific treatment available for AFM and interventions are generally recommended on a case-by-case basis.

In rare cases, AFM can cause neurological complications that can lead to death.

She spent a few days at a respirator and nine weeks at the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Pictured: Olivia during her first month in the hospital, left and Olivia during physiotherapy, right?

She spent a few days at a respirator and nine weeks at the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Pictured: Olivia during her first month in the hospital, left and Olivia during physiotherapy, right?

She spent a few days at a respirator and nine weeks at the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Pictured: Olivia during her first month in the hospital, left and Olivia during physiotherapy, right?

Olivia (photo) is finally walking again and still visits physical therapy sessions several times a week to regain strength

Olivia (photo) is finally walking again and still visits physical therapy sessions several times a week to regain strength

Olivia (photo) is finally walking again and still visits physical therapy sessions several times a week to regain strength

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, in the outbreak last year, 232 cases were confirmed in 41 states.

Olivia sat on a ventilator for a few days and was paralyzed, unable to hold up her own head.

& # 39; I was again changing diapers so that she could feed herself. We had stomach pains to strengthen her neck again, & said Alecia.

& # 39; She couldn't sit alone, so there was a Bumbo (floor seat) on which she had to sit and many of those little milestones that she had to relearn. & # 39;

Eventually Olivia came out of a fan and switched to an oxygen tank. She was tied in a wheelchair for a few weeks until she took her first steps in October 2018 with a walker.

Olivia spent nine weeks of physical and occupational therapy at the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids and currently attends sessions several times a week.

& # 39; She has had a great attitude throughout her rehabilitation process, & # 39; Janae Thaler, Olivia & # 39; s physical therapist, told Fox 17.

& # 39; She really isn't afraid to try new things. She is really willing to do what it takes to become stronger and get better. & # 39;

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