Health officials report 6 cases of rare, polio-like virus in Minnesota

Leslie Hanson
October 13, 2018

The puzzling condition, known as Acute Flaccid Myelitis, causes partial paralysis in children and bears a striking resemblance to polio. Four of the five children had a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, the department said.

The state health department is working with the CDC to determine if these are indeed cases of AFM.

The hospital is now working with the health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to administer testing to confirm if the child does indeed have AFM.

Symptoms of AFM include weakness of the arms or legs, facial droop or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech.

Although acute flaccid myelitis is terrifying, Adalja says parents should not stay awake at night worrying about it.

AFM is not a reportable disease, meaning there may be more cases that were just treated and the child recovered and AFM wasn't diagnosed.

CDC specialists will make the final determination as to whether the cases in Washington are AFM, state health officials said. The CDC says the condition is not new but there's been an increase in cases starting in 2014. Many people compare the disease to polio because it can cause problems that are very similar to the poliovirus.


Dr. Elizabeth Meade, chief of pediatrics at Swedish Pediatrics, says AFM is more common in kids and is especially associated with viruses. "This is certainly the largest outbreak of enterovirus A71 we've seen in Colorado".

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital evaluated and cared for two patients with suspected AFM.

Between August 2014 and August 2018, the CDC received information on a total of 362 confirmed cases of AFM nationwide.

"But just because you catch the virus from somebody that developed AFM, doesn't mean that you will also develop AFM", Dr. Meade explained.

"There are cases of good recovery and good potential for good healing", said Sinner.

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. One case was reported earlier this year. This year along, there were 38 people diagnosed with AFM across 16 states. 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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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