Chattanooga boy diagnosed with rare condition

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Doctors say a Chattanooga boy was recently diagnosed with a rare condition that causes a rapid onset of muscle weakness.

Serena Hill says her six-year-old son Spencer recently got a cold.

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“For about a week he had your common cold type thing, runny nose and then he got over it as most kids get over a cold and then one day his hands started drawing in. He couldn’t use his fingers, he couldn’t write,” Hill said.

She says his legs then became numb.

“By the time we could him to the hospital and a neurologist saw him, he could not even stand up. So it came on very fast. It was very sudden,” Hill said.



When he got to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, Spencer was eventually diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Myelitis.

“Basically it is a term that is describing a condition in which a child has a very rapid onset of muscle weakness that occurs over a short period of time,” said Dr. David Suhrbier, Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.

While this condition has been popping up across the country, Dr. Suhrbier says Spencer’s case is the first they’ve had this year.

“This is not a massive outbreak, but this is a very serious condition which needs to be addressed and needs to be looked into further,” Dr. Suhrbier said.

Spencer was transferred to an Atlanta children’s hospital for inpatient rehabilitation.

“Although he was affected, there are others who are out there who are affected more severely. And my son, he is at least recovering. He is getting stronger everyday,” Hill said.

Hill says she is sharing her son’s story, so people know the signs.

“Parents just really need to be on the look out when kids start complaining about these random symptoms. They come to you, ‘Mommy, Daddy, my hands don’t feel right. My feet don’t feel right.’ They need to pay attention to that,” Hill said.

If you are interested in helping Spencer’s family with medical costs, click here.