Bryan Sotelo was playing football two months ago.
Now, the 11-year-old is fighting for his life after testing positive for enterovirus. His family is awaiting test results to see if he’s suffering from EV-D68, the particular strain of the virus linked to four deaths.
Sotelo is one of more than two dozen patients in seven states suffering from paralysis after contracting severe respiratory illness. He’s going through intensive physical therapy at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, too weak to speak and unable to lift his right arm.
Yadira Garcilazo, his mother, said her son’s condition continues to worsen.
“When he got sick, I never think that he’s going to be like that,” she said.
The virus has been confirmed in 43 states and Washington, D.C. At one children’s hospital in Michigan – C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital – seven cases of limb weakness and paralysis were reported. Some of the patients are infants and toddlers.
“We do see these problems of limb weakness with viral infections. It's too early to say whether these kids will be okay in the long run, meaning whether they'll get all their strength back,” Matthew Davis, a pediatrician at the hospital, said.
Sotelo’s mother remains hopeful that he can rise above his health obstacles.
“He can beat this,” she said. “He has shown me so many things … he can do it.”