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Mysterious illness leaving children paralyzed

CALIFORNIA (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Doctors say a mysterious new illness is leaving some children paralyzed.

The new strain is being compared to polio, even though that virus was eradicated here in the U.S. more than three decades ago.

It's mostly affecting kids in California.

Sofia Jarvis seems like a normal, healthy, four year old girl until you notice her left arm, which she has nicknamed lefty.

"Lefty is my favorite arm," said Jarvis.
Sofia's left arm is paralyzed.

Researchers say she's one of as many as 25 children in California who have developed a mysterious polio-like illness that paralyzes limbs.

"It can affect one or more limbs, and the prognosis that we've seen so far is not good, most of the children we've seen have not recovered use of their arm or leg," said Dr. Keith Van Haren.
Some of the children first had symptoms of a cold, but health experts still don't know if the illness is caused by a virus or something else.

"Even though it's acting like polio, where the paralysis develops suddenly over 48 hours, it's definitely not polio. In fact all of the children who have been confirmed to have the illness, were vaccinated against it and tested negative for it," said Dr. Holly Phillips, CBS News Medical Contributor. 
Sofia was hospitalized for what doctors thought was asthma two years ago. Then she got sicker.

"We had two boys that are very healthy and Sofia was healthy until that point. We did not realize what we were in store for," said Jessica Tomei, Sofia's mother.
Doctors say the illness is serious, but very rare.