Six Cases of Rare, Polio-like Illness in MN Children

Rare illness leaves 3-year-old boy paralyzed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said AFM presents like polio or West Nile virus, estimates that fewer than one in a million people in the US will get AFM each year. A 2-year-old girl was recently diagnosed in the Chicago area, and UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed that three children are now being treated for AFM at their facility. "Isolation protocols and infection control procedures are in place and we are working with the CDC and the Allegheny County Health Department to further monitor and evaluate the patient conditions".

Causes of AFM include viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders.

The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak.

Acute flaccid myelitis affects the nervous system and can lead to the weakening of muscles, health official said. Other symptoms may include: neck weakness or stiffness, drooping eyelids or a facial droop and difficulty swallowing or slurred speech. CNN reports that there were 120 total cases nationwide in 2014, but only 21 in 2015.

Treatment focuses only on alleviating symptoms.

And in 2018 alone, 38 new cases of AFM in 16 states across the country were confirmed by the CDC.

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According to the department, there was a national uptick in these cases in 2014 that investigators believe was linked to an outbreak of a respiratory illness in children caused by an enterovirus. She says A-F-M is serious but rare, affecting about one in a million people.

All six patients are under the age of 10 and have been diagnosed with AFM since September 20.

The case of Orville Young, 4, was among the first in Minnesota to be reported.

"It is important to know that even though this is a rare condition and is being reported as a mystery illness, we really do understand much more about the causes of this disease", he said. They can also cause neurologic illness, such as meningitis, encephalitis, and AFM, but these are rare.

"EV-D68 has been circulating in what looks like an every-other-year pattern", Messacar told NBC News. Not much is known about AFM, which mainly affects children, and it doesn't have a cure.

The MDH urges parents and children to take basic steps to avoid illnesses, such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, keeping current with vaccinations, and protecting against mosquito bites.

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