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Allegheny

Son of Pine-Richland coach among 'modern polio' victims

Tony LaRussa
| Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, 7:30 a.m.
A gofundme.com page has been set up to assist with the medical costs for Pine-Richland High School basketball coach Jeff Ackermann’s son, Bryson, who is pictured here sitting in front of his father along with other members of the family. Bryson is being treated for a rare neurological disease at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
A gofundme.com page has been set up to assist with the medical costs for Pine-Richland High School basketball coach Jeff Ackermann’s son, Bryson, who is pictured here sitting in front of his father along with other members of the family. Bryson is being treated for a rare neurological disease at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

One of two children from Allegheny County being treated for a rare neurological disease at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is Bryson Ackermann, the young son of Pine-Richland High School basketball coach Jeffrey Ackermann.

A third child undergoing treatment at Children’s is from Washington County, according to the Allegheny County Health Department.

A gofundme.com page has been set up to assist with Bryson’s medical treatment:

“Bryson has been diagnosed with AFM (a polio like disease). Right now he is at Children’s hospital in ICU. Bryson has a long road of treatments, etc., ahead of him. We are trying to help the family out with the many medical expenses, travel cost, parking cost, food cost and time off work for both Jeff and Jill. Anything you can give will help!

Please say a prayer for Bryson and the whole Ackermann family!”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed three cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the Pittsburgh region and one suspected case in the Philadelphia.

UPMC confirmed Oct. 9 three children were receiving treatment for the disease at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville.

A UPMC spokeswoman said isolation protocols and infection control procedures were in place. The condition, which affects fewer than one in 1 million people per year in the United States, is not well understood.

Respiratory viruses can sometimes lead to the polio-like condition or it can come from environmental toxins or genetic disorders, according to the CDC. The agency recommends regular hand-washing, keeping up to date on vaccines — including the polio vaccine — and avoiding mosquito bites.

The last major AFM outbreak — 120 cases across 34 states in 2014 — coincided with a sharp rise in severe respiratory illnesses caused by enterovirus D68.

This year, the CDC has observed 38 confirmed cases in 16 states, the federal agency said in an update last week.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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