clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Vox Sentences: A mysterious, paralyzing disease hits the US

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

The CDC warns against a new illness that can cause paralysis in children; the Honduran migrant caravan slowly makes its way to the US.

A disease with no known cause

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning against a mysterious new illness that’s appeared in children in 22 states this year and is quickly spreading across the US. [TicToc Bloomberg]
  • So far, the CDC has received 127 reports of suspected cases of the disease, which is called acute flaccid myelitis. AFM is a polio-like condition that affects the nervous system and may cause paralysis. [Twitter / AJ+]
  • Ninety percent of the afflicted patients are under the age of 18. The cause of AFM is still unknown, as patients have not tested positive for polio, but doctors suspect it’s a virus. Though there’s no vaccine to treat it so far, most children recover quickly. [ABC News / Bopha Phorn]
  • AFM first grabbed attention in 2014 with 120 reported cases. Yet the condition indicates an every-other-year pattern, with the number of afflicted patients dropping every year and spiking the following one. [NBC News / Maggie Fox]
  • The 2014 increase coincided with a national outbreak of a severe respiratory illness caused by another non-polio virus, the enterovirus D68. People are more likely to get infected by D68 during the fall. [CNN / Jay Croft]
  • Minnesota, which previously saw only one case of AFM a year, now has seven confirmed cases of the virus, according to state officials. [KNSI / Jennifer Lewerenz]

And so the caravan travels north

  • A caravan of about 2,000 Central American migrants is making its way to the southern border of the United States, despite threats by President Donald Trump urging it to stop. [Newsweek / Jason Lemon]
  • The caravan, primarily made up of Honduran natives, began its march last Friday and has now reached Guatemala, picking up more migrants on its journey. The trip north does not mark an unusual event, as tens of thousands of Central Americans have migrated to the US in the past to flee violence and poverty. [NYT / Kirk Semple]
  • Trump has repeatedly warned against the caravan’s movement. On Tuesday, he even extended his threats to Guatemala and El Salvador, saying “all payments made to them will STOP” if officials allow their citizens to migrate illegally. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Mexico immigration officials warn that people traveling unauthorized in the caravan — meaning they didn’t get visas from the consulate in Honduras — will not be allowed to enter Mexico. In the past, Mexico has offered migrants humanitarian visas, as well as aid. [Twitter / Maya Srikrishnan]


  • Canada became the first major world economy to legalize recreational marijuana Wednesday, and is vying to also introduce legislation that will pardon citizens who were convicted of cannabis possession. [NYT / Dan Bilefsky]
  • Officials in Chengdu, China, announced they will launch an “artificial moon” into the sky in two years. The illumination satellite will be eight times as bright as the actual moon and may even replace the city’s streetlights. [Asia Times]
  • French conceptual artist Sophie Calle decided to commemorate the life of her cat, Souris, who died in 2014, by commissioning artists like Bono, Pharrell Williams, and Laurie Anderson to compose tracks that will be presented at a new art project in Paris. [Vulture / Dee Lockett]
  • Former US Rep. Mary Bono resigned as interim president of USA Gymnastics after just four days, following several team members’ criticism of her involvement during the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. [ESPN]


“This girl is going around telling everyone ... that she had brought in these cookies to school with human ashes in them.” [A student in Davis, California, said a girl in his school handed her classmates cookies that she claimed were baked with her grandmother’s ashes / Fox 40]

Watch this: How Ikea gets you to impulsively buy more

Ikea has mastered the “Gruen effect.” [YouTube / Carlos Waters]

Read more

How meditation and psychedelic drugs could reduce political partisanship

Lust meets wanderlust: why everyone uses travel photos on their dating profiles

These consumer advocates successfully boycotted Ivanka Trump. Now they’re turning to the ballot.

23 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better

The Conners killed off Roseanne via opioid overdose. The real Roseanne Barr is not happy.