Help for children with polio-like condition Acute Flaccid Myelitis

A local hospital is helping some children regain movement after a polio-like condition left them partially paralyzed.

The CDC is now creating a task force to investigate this condition, Acute Flaccid Myelitis, and why it's happening.

Meanwhile, many families are struggling to find help. One little boy is making progress after several unique surgeries.

Seven-year-old Sebastian Bottomley is slowly regaining movement, it's been a long and difficult road.

"We are getting close to more than 2,000 hours of therapy now, he has been in inpatient and outpatient therapy centers over 360 days at this point," said Christa Bottomley, Sebastian's mom.

A little more than two years ago, he was healthy in the summer of 2016,

He went from having what seemed like a bad cold to not being able to move his arms and legs.

"I would say in 24 to 48 hours he was paralyzed from the neck down," said Christa.

Sebastian was diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Myelitis or AFM.

Doctors at Shriners Hospital for Children are now using innovative techniques to help kids paralyzed by the condition.

"He can shake my hand now whereas before his thumb was over here recently had a tendon transfer to help restore function to his thumb,"

Last year, he also underwent nerve transfer surgery to his upper right arm, hoping to restore shoulder and elbow movement.

Doctor Dan Zlotolow says they take a working nerve from a less important area and move it where it's needed.

"It's sort of like plugging two cables together and when you plug that cable in those nerves actually have to regrow down the structure of the nerve to the triceps. If you don't have that nerve going to the muscle, no physical therapy is going to revive that muscle," said Doctor Zlotolow.

He says it takes about 6 months to a year after nerve transfer to see results.

This is Sebastian 14 months after having the surgery on his lower limbs that was done at a hospital in Saint Louis.

His mom says the treatment was worth it. She's optimistic he'll continue to gain strength.

"I say my boy is going to walk again. It's just not going to be tomorrow and it might not be next year but my son is definitely going to walk," said Christa.

The doctor says the goal is different for every child. For some children, it's just helping them breath on their own.

For Sebastian, the hope is he'll be able to get around and take of himself independently as he grows up.

He is a really tough kid. He's doing a lot of work to get better.


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