Beaumont Child in Dallas for Recovery from Mysterious Illness

A rare and mysterious illness called acute flaccid myelitis is paralyzing some children across the country and here in North Texas.

As of August, at least 50 people in 24 states were confirmed to have acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, a viral illness that targets the body's nervous system and can lead to paralysis and death.

Infection with AFM leads to the limb weakness and paralysis.

Eleven cases are in Texas, and those include the case of 5-year-old Braden Scott, of Beaumont.

Children's Health Facebook Live Chat on Acute Flaccid Myelitis

"Before he got sick, he was a regular 5-year-old and he loved to draw," said Braden's mother, Rachel Scott.

"Just pages and pages of drawings, and he was always moving, always running around, so it's hard to see him be still," she said.

Braden was a healthy child, but his mother says he started acting abnormal on July 4 this year.

"He just wasn't himself. He didn't want to go swimming. He didn't want to go do the fireworks. We were carrying him around places because he was tired," Scott said.

Doctors initially thought it was mono and strep, but slowly, Braden was losing his ability to move, and by the time doctors diagnosed him with AFM, the damage had been done.

"He can't hold his head up. He can't swallow. He can't breathe on his own and he can't lift much off the bed. Gravity is too strong to lift," Scott said.

Scientists from coast-to-coast are studying an increase in cases of a polio-like illness in children.

Braden is now staying at Our Children's House in Dallas, miles away from the rest of their family in Beaumont, however, doctors say he's made progress through physical and occupational therapy.

Still, doctors don't know why Braden was affected so severely by the illness, nor whether he will make a full recovery.

His mother says she doesn't ask "why Braden?"

Instead, she says, they focus on the how far Braden has come since his diagnosis.

"Right now, he's doing great, so we try to focus on how he's doing right now. And he's making such great progress, that as long as we can remember that, it's kind of easier to accept what's going on," she said.

Braden, not able to speak months ago, can now speak and works on poems and math from his hospital room.

"I know a lot about math and I also know a lot about art," Braden told NBC 5's Bianca Castro.

"He's doing okay. He's a happy kid. He's not beat down by this," Scott said.

"People are like, 'How's Braden?' And I'm like, 'He's fine.' He's playing the iPad all day long, he's totally fine," she added.

"We're confident that this is the right direction for Braden's life and it's the right direction for all our lives," Scott said.

Braden's found the right place to recover.

He has already met with one of the world's leading experts on AFM, Dr. Benjamin Greenberg, pediatric neurologist at Children's Health and associate professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

"Not all kids recover, and we are still looking at ways to improve those outcomes in any way possible. There's nationwide study trying to understand why some people get this condition and others don't, and of those who get it, why it's severe or mild," Greenberg said.

Greenberg said the suspected cause of the condition is a virus called enterovirus-D68.

Enterovirus-D68 is transmitted through casual contact, and doctors say the best prevention is proper hygiene, like washing hands and avoiding contact with others while sick.

They say if your child develops any kind of weakness in the arms or legs, you should get him or her to the pediatrician right away.

Rachel Scott has created a Facebook page to document Braden's journey. You can also learn more about Braden here.

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