Mother reveals hell of seeing her daughter, 5, succumb to enterovirus which has left her unable to speak or move as the illness sweeps the U.S

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(from the Daily Mail) The mother of a five-year-old girl paralyzed by the enterovirus has spoken out about the hell of watching her young daughter battle the deadly illness.

Kinley Galbreath, from Hamilton, has spent the past three weeks in intensive care at Children’s of Alabama, where she remains on a ventilator paralyzed from her arms to her legs.

Her mom Kim Nichols has remained by Kinley’s side since the little girl was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with the potentially fatal respiratory illness enterovirus D-68

Speaking exclusively to ABC 3340, the mother said: ‘As she was getting ready to doze off, she said ‘mommy, my hands are going numb’ and by that point she started to lose movement in her neck.

‘On the third day is when she lost movement from her legs down,’ Ms Nichols added. ‘The only thing she’s had control of has been her toes. And that’s what she wiggles to let me know something’s wrong. And she’ll blink her eyes for yes, and won’t blink her eyes for no.’

Ms Nichols explained that her daughter had a mild form of asthma prior to being diagnosed with the virus. Children with respiratory issues are more likely to suffer complications with enterovirus.

‘A lot of people thought it was more of a common cold, she said. ‘And they didn’t realized that it had totally paralyzed Kinley.’

Five-year-old Kinley Galbreath, from Hamilton, has spent the past three weeks in intensive care at Children's of Alabama, where she remains on a ventilator paralyzed from her arms to her legs

Kinley, who turns six in two weeks, was so weakened by the paralysis that she needed a tracheotomy, just so she could breathe.

‘She has lost all of the muscles in her diaphragm to push any sound up to talk,’ her mom said.

‘Today, she’s really frustrated, because she started moving her lips and I can’t understand what she’s saying. She’s continuously crying because I can’t understand her.’

Dr Jayne Ness, a pediatric neurologist at Children’s of Alabama, said that although Kinley tested positive for the virus they cannot be sure that it is connected to the paralysis.

‘Right now we know that, for example, in Kinley’s case, she’s tested positive for the virus,’ she said. ‘But, we can’t prove right now, for sure, that the virus is the cause of the inflammation of her spinal cord.’

The doctor said she is hopeful that Kinley will recover but it will take time.

Ms Nichols has remained by her daughter's side since the little girl was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with the potentially fatal respiratory illness enterovirus D-68

‘I think a long, slow rehabilitation,’ she said. ‘But, based on what I’m hearing in other parts of the country, based on what we are seeing from other kids, is that there will be a recovery.’

Ms Nichols has been using Facebook to provide updates to Kinley’s condition and a page titled Praying for Healing for Kinley has received nearly 8,000 likes.

She said: ‘I’m usually a very private person, but it was so overwhelming with the output of support from my community. We are from a small town. But they’ve all got hearts of gold.’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said four people with enterovirus have died nationwide, although it is not yet clear what role it played in their deaths.

In total, 628 people from 44 states and the District of Columbia have been affected, the CDC said. The majority of the cases are believed to be children.

Only Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska have not seen any cases.

The illness has flu and cold-like symptoms and can cause difficulty breathing for infants and young children, officials have said.

The disease can spread through droplets in coughs or sneezes or when someone touches a contaminated surface, such as a countertop or doorknob, according to the Florida Department of Health.Kinley, who turns six in two weeks, was so weakened by the paralysis that she needed a tracheotomy, just so she could breathe

Officials said the best way to prevent the disease spreading is by keeping good hygiene such as washing hands and disinfecting surfaces.’

Those having cold-like or flu-like symptoms should stay home from child care centers, school or work and, if possible, remain apart from other family members,’ said Dr Celeste Philip, deputy secretary for health, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

One of those who died was four-year-old Eli Waller, who succumbed to the illness last month, according to the Mercer County Medical Examiner’s Office in New Jersey.

Eli was asymptomatic before his death and the onset of his illness was rapid, according to Hamilton Township Health Officer Jeff Plunkett said.

The youngster had stayed home from preschool on September 24 with a case pink eye that the medical examiner found to be unrelated to the virus. That night, he died in his sleep.

Emily Otrando, a 10-year-old from Cumberland, Rhode Island, died September 22 at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and was known to have the illness.

Kinley before she was struck down by the illness

WHAT IS ENTEROVIRUS EV-D68? SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS 

Enteroviruses, which bring on symptoms like a very intense cold, aren’t unusual and peak usually in September into fall.

They usually resemble a bad cold, but this particular strain has become worrisome for parents across the US after a number of fatalities among children

What is proving so worrisome about this particular strain?

ED-D68 was first identified in the 1960s and is uncommon, but has been cropping up in recent years in Georgia, Pennsylvania and abroad in Japan and the Netherlands.

However, the bottom line is that experts cannot explain why it is has flared so dramatically this year.

They also cannot explain why it is proving so virulent.

Signs and symptoms

ED-D68 begins as a cold, with coughing, fever and wheezing.

The virus can cause breathing difficulties but most recover well after a week.

How serious is it?

While experts have said that in theory some cases can become so severe they result in death, many of the EV-D68 infections ‘will be mild and self-limited, requiring only symptomatic treatment,’ according to the Missouri health agency said.

How can infection be prevented?

This particular enterovirus is spread through bodily contact. Making children far more susceptible.

Health officials have said there is not much that can be done about it other than washing hands with soap and disinfecting surfaces.

There’s no vaccine for EV-D68

The Rhode Island child’s death was the result of a bacterial infection, Staphylococcus aureus, that hit the girl in tandem with the virus, Rhode Island officials said in a statement.

This enterovirus germ is not new. It was first identified in 1962 and has caused clusters of illness before.

Because it’s not routinely tested for, it may have spread widely in previous years without being identified in people who just seemed to have a cold.

This year, the virus has gotten more attention because it has been linked to hundreds of severe illnesses.

Beginning last month, hospitals in Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago received a flood of children with trouble breathing. Some needed oxygen or more extreme care such as a breathing machine. Many, but not all, had asthma before the infection.

Health officials say they have not detected a recent mutation or other change in the virus that would cause it to become more dangerous.

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