Health officials are investigating nine cases of muscle weakness or paralysis in Colorado children and whether the culprit might be a virus causing severe respiratory illness across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday sent doctors an alert about the polio-like cases and said the germ – enterovirus 68 – was detected in four out of eight of the sick children who had a certain medical test. The status of the ninth case is unclear.

The virus can cause paralysis but other germs can, too. Health officials don’t know whether the virus caused any of the children’s arm and leg weaknesses or whether it’s just a germ they coincidentally picked up.

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