Girl Comes Down With Polio-Like Symptoms

Bob Roberts
October 09, 2018 - 10:41 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A 2-year-old Batavia girl was treated for weeks at Lurie Children's Hospital for a rare disorder that left her partially paralyzed and virtually unable to breathe. 

WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts has spoken with the girl's intensive care doctor.

At first, Julia Payne appeared to have common cold or flu-like symptoms – the same as her three sisters.

But then, says ICU doctor Marcelo Malakooti, her symptoms quickly turned for the worse.

“She had weakness and trouble breathing. That’s when we had to intervene and support her breathing with a ventilator,” he said.

This was despite what Dr. Malakooti said was early diagnosis of the virus known as acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

After four touch-and-go weeks, Julia is moving to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, for six to eight weeks of rehabilitation.

A hospital spokesperson said full recovery could take several years, with weakness returning, much like polio, later in life.