Transcript for Respiratory virus with potential to lead to rare disease raises concerns
children. There have been dozens of cases of afm or acute flaccid myelitis in at least 16 different states. The New York state department of health is warning parents to watch out for a respiratory illness that could lead to that require disease. ABC's chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton joins us from London with what parents need to know. Dr. Jen, this seems a lot scarier than a seasonal flu. What exactly are these two different illnesses and how are they connected? Right, let me break it down for you because we're talking about a relatively common enterovirus that gives you typically mild symptoms like the common cold, sneezing, cough, runny nose, maybe some muscle and body aches. Occasionally, occasionally it has been associated with afm or acute flaccid myelitis. Now that gives you symptoms very much like polio, weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs, polio and enterovirus are part of the same family but maybe right now the cases we're seeing in the country, only one has been confirmed to be associated with enterovirus. While there is cause for concern and public health officials are watching this, no cause for panic. In medicine we say an increase risk of a rare event is still a rare event. Okay, well, that's comforting. What should parents do to protect their kids against ev? Hand hygiene. Very, very important. If you're around someone sick make sure you're washing your hands, disinfecting those hot spot surfaces. Use common sense precautions. The same precautions we talk about for reducing the risk of influenza. Reduce the risk of enterovirus. All right, thank you so much, Dr. Jen. Good to hear from you. I hear people sometimes singing "Happy birthday" while they're washing their hands. If I could get my 4-year-old to wash her hands before she sucks her thumb. Then we'd be in good shape. We're working on it.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.