Illinois Reports Nine Cases Of Acute Flaccid Myelitis, A Polio-Like Illness

Henrietta Strickland
October 11, 2018

"What we do know is that AFM can be caused by lots of different things, and one of those things is a viral infection", Dr. Meade said. Instead, doctors just focus on alleviating symptoms as best they can. Most of the cases nationwide have been in children. The CDC says the condition is not new but there's been an increase in cases starting in 2014.

A rare, polio-like condition in children is on the rise again in the United States, with 38 confirmed cases in 16 states so far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

State health officials are working with the care providers to obtain the samples and information to send to CDC for testing and confirmation of the diagnoses.

In rare cases, the CDC stated, it can cause numbness, tingling and pain in the extremities, problems urinating, paralysis, respiratory failure and death.

More and more cases of a rare polio-like illness are being reported across the country, according to news reports.

Outside of IL, there are now a few dozen cases of AFM in the United States. These states include California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

So far, experts say they can neither pinpoint the cause or a treatment for the recent cases. They may also experience drooping eyelids, facial droop and slurred speech, among other symptoms. "That enterovirus is transmittable from person to person, but you can't actually catch AFM from somebody else". But unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM.

The CDC recommends getting children vaccinated against the poliovirus, as well as protecting against bites from mosquitos (which carry the West Nile virus).

However, 11 of the Colorado cases of AFM have tested positive for EV A71, a rare type of enterovirus not usually seen in the US but instead in Asia and other parts of the world, according to Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the Colorado state epidemiologist. "A person's arms and legs can become weak or paralyzed depending on the area of the spinal cord that is inflamed". It may also be helpful to wash hands often with soap and water, the agency says.

If your child has any symptoms of AFM (limb weakness, facial weakness/drooping, difficulty speaking or swallowing), seek medical attention right away.

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