Wisconsin boy recovering from mysterious illness that can paralyze children

MADISON, Wis. (WISN) — A Wisconsin boy is still recovering from a mysterious illness after experiencing paralysis from the rare disease that is comparable to polio.

August McNall of Janesville was rushed to American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. The illness robbed him of the movement of his arms and legs in a matter of hours.

“I couldn’t move my hand. Like, I tried to use the bathroom. I couldn’t shut it (the door) with my right hand. My fingers were just sliding off the door,” August said.

“Got a call from school that August, was in the medical room, that his arm felt funny and his hand wasn’t working,” August’s father, Grant McNall said.

August deteriorated fast. By the time he got to the hospital, he was already paralyzed in both arms and a leg. By morning, it was worse.

“They called an emergency code, and he was moved to the ICU and he was then intubated with a tube down his throat to breathe, and he was being artificially ventilated. So, that was in less than 24 hours,” Grant McNall said.

August was hospitalized for two months and two years later, he still can’t use his right hand. He was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, which is making news again with an upsurge in cases. It comes on suddenly about a week after what seems like a cold.

“The paralysis, that’s very difficult to ignore. That’d be very difficult, but don’t discount even minor symptoms of uncoordination, muscle weakness they can’t explain, especially if you’re five to seven days after a cold,” Grant McNall said.

The quick treatment made all the difference. August has returned to playing soccer, has run a 5K and hasn’t lost his positive outlook.

“Yeah, so, I got lucky there. I was left-handed already before this happened,” August said.

A 6-year-old boy from Sheboygan was treated this summer for acute flaccid myelitis and still has paralysis in his arm and neck.

The rare illness has struck six children in Minnesota, and three new cases have been reported in Pittsburgh for a total of 38 cases in 16 states.

WAOW Staff

WAOW Staff

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