Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Medicine | By Debra Reynolds

8-year-old IN girl receiving treatment for rare ‘polio-like’ disease

8-year-old IN girl receiving treatment for rare ‘polio-like’ disease

The Washington Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm if the children have AFM. They had symptoms of a respiratory illness in the week before developing symptoms of AFM.

Dr. Fernando Acosta Jr., a neurologist at Cook Children's, said there is no cure or treatment at this time.

For example, in Minnesota, cases of AFM were generally stagnant at about one case per year, but now six children have been confirmed to have AFM in 2018 alone.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that health care providers in the state have reported nine clinically-diagnosed cases of a rare condition that afflicts the nervous system, in particular the spinal cord.

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One case was reported earlier this year. Eight cases have been reported statewide.

"At this point there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases", Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health, said. AFM can cause a range of types and severity of symptoms, but the commonality among them is a loss of strength or movement in one or more arms or legs. Most of the cases nationwide have been in children. "We'll continue to investigate and share information when we have it".

Since 2015, when IL began monitoring reports of AFM in the state, four confirmed cases have been identified.

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

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With research, doctors are trying to figure out if AFM is coming from the same enterovirus family, but not every child diagnosed with AFM has the virus.

"There's a sudden onset of weakness in the arm, leg, face, or the muscles that help us swallow and that we use to speak", says Dr. Amaran Moodley from the Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. On its website, the CDC explains that non-polio enteroviruses, which normally don't make people sick and if they do, it's often the common cold, can cause AFM.

So far this year, the CDC says there have been 38 confirmed cases of AFM across 16 states. However, it recommends practicing disease prevention measures, including staying up-to-date on vaccines and protecting yourself from mosquito bites. There were about 15 cases reported in August 2018.

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