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11 October 2018, 04:12 | Randall Craig
Rare 'Polio-Like' Illness Diagnosed in 6 Minnesota Kids
Since mid-September, six cases of the condition, acute flaccid myelitis, in children under 10 years old have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, the agency said. It's very rare and typically affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord which could lead to paralysis in some cases. AFM cases first peaked in the United States in August 2014, 120 people had been identified in 34 states by the end of that year.
Melaney Arnold of the Illinois Department of Public Health says health care providers in the state have reported nine cases of AFM. It seems to wax and wane from one year to the next, the CDC says. This disease, AFM is not exactly like polio as it has no vaccination.
CDC specialists will make the final determination as to whether the cases in Washington are AFM, state health officials said. As limbs become weak, a patient might lose the ability to use their arms or legs.
Three children are being treated for suspected cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, ABC News reports.
Symptoms of A-F-M include sudden weakness in an arm or leg, and loss of muscular reflexes. She says A-F-M is serious but rare, affecting about one in a million people.
"Just to have him lift his head up a bit more to look to the side was a blessing, because we didn't know if that was coming back", Hill explains.
If parents notice symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis, they should see a doctor immediately.
While the Department of Health said there are no specific recommendations for avoiding AFM, people can take steps to reduce their risks from some known causes with frequent and thorough hand-washing, avoiding close contact with sick people, and cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant, especially those that a sick person has touched. This virus is transmitted from person to person and it can have severe effects of the brain and spinal cord of the system. Symptoms are similar to complications from other viruses such as the West Nile Virus or the poliovirus. However, it recommends practicing disease prevention measures, including staying up-to-date on vaccines and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
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