Six children diagnosed with ‘Polio-like’ paralyzing illness in Minnesota

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And at the end of 2104, total numbers of people affected from AFM were 120 in 34 states.

There's no cure and some children appear to have long-term disabilities, while others recover completely or almost completely.

Possible causes of AFM include viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders. But other viruses may also be to blame. There were only 33 reported cases past year, according to the CDC.

Six children in Minnesota have contracted AFM since mid-September, the state health department said October 5. From August 2014 through August 2018, the CDC has been notified of 362 cases of the illness, mostly in children. At least nine have been linked to enterovirus A71.

While aspects of the condition are puzzling, Messacar says it's no mystery disease. It can also be a cause of paralysis in the body. Polio once caused regular epidemics until vaccination wiped it out across most of the world.

The EV-D68 virus has seen occasional outbreaks, usually in the summer or autumn.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare condition.

Health investigators are still trying to figure out how the children contracted the rare disease. CDC has been actively investigating these AFM cases, and we continue to receive information about suspected AFM cases.

"Parents described their kids as dizzy, wobbly and having jerky movements", Herlihy said.

Minnesota officials have not yet identified a particular virus in the six cases there.

While fewer than 1 in a million people in the US are diagnosed with AFM each year, the CDC is concerned about the recurrent outbreaks, especially given the mysterious nature of the illness. "Cases have been reported from the Twin Cities, central Minnesota and northeastern Minnesota", the state health department said in a statement.

AFM is a rare, polio-like condition that affects an individual's nervous system and can cause sudden arm and leg weakness, according to the CDC. Most patients must be hospitalized. After treatment, the child was able to regain most of his muscle function, expect in his right arm, and is now in therapy, facing possible surgery. Some people may be unable to urinate, and, in severe cases, a person can suffer respiratory failure and must be put on a ventilator. Doctors stress the importance of recognizing the early signs of AFM and seeking care as soon as possible. Doctors found a clue to what was wrong from an MRI scan.

But there's not much else that parents can do to protect their children.

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.

It's believed that the condition can develop following a viral infection, and indeed, the parents of two of the patients say their children started to develop symptoms after getting a cold.

Editor's Note: The video above was originally published in 2016.

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