Polio-Like AFM in More Children Surfacing Across US


All of the cases have been reported on the west side of the state with two children in King County and one child in Pierce County, Lewis County and Snohomish County. "However, some illnesses caused by EV-A71 and EV-D68 can be severe enough to require hospitalization".

State and federal officials are now investigating six possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in Washington state.

Health officials are "investigating six cases of suspected AFM" in the state as of Tuesday, Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz told Fox News. It also does not include the cases in Minnesota or IL, as they are not confirmed.

The condition is still very rare, occurring in fewer than one in a million people in the US each year, the CDC says.

The CDC says it got information on 362 cases of the illness in the USA from August 2014 through August 2018. Symptoms typically include sudden weakness in one or more arms or legs, along with loss of muscle tone and decreased or absent reflexes.

Health departments in several states, including Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois and Washington are investigating confirmed cases in their areas, many of which are not included in the CDC's totals because they were confirmed after September 30th. "[AFM] is a virus that normally lives in our guts, but for whatever reason it has been causing upper respiratory infections". Now the downtown Chicago hospital says a second child is being treated there, but the family in the second case didn't want to be identified. There, after more tests, she was diagnosed with a probable case of AFM.

Even with extensive lab testing, AFM is hard to diagnose, because it so similar to other conditions, including poliovirus, West Nile virus and adenoviruses, the CDC reports. A 2016 report found there were 120 cases recorded across 34 states from August through December 2014.

Doctors say the best way to prevent AFM is frequent handwashing and keeping children home and away from others when they are sick.

Much is still unknown about AFM and often, a cause for AFM can not be identified.

Doctors are encouraging people to practice what are called "general prevention strategies" - including washing your hands with soap and water, getting vaccinated and preventing mosquito bites.