Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Colorado health department reports 14 cases of polio-like illness in children

6 Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease Klobuchar Calls for CDC Investigation of Polio-Like Illness
Celia Hoffman | 13 October, 2018, 14:27

Drooping of the face or eyelids and trouble speaking or swallowing. For example, neurologists may recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness caused by AFM.

Acute Flacid Myelitis or paralysis (AFM) is a rare disorder that is increasing in prevalence.

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. Instead, doctors just focus on alleviating symptoms as best they can.

However, it can be hard to detect how patients actually get AFM. The children were all hospitalized after experiencing "sudden onset of paralysis of one or more limbs". "This condition is not new, but the increase in cases we saw starting in 2014 is new". Doctors took nerves from her ribs and diaphragm and diverted them to her arm to make her fingers, wrist, and elbow bend and straighten.

Earlier this month, six Minnesota children were diagnosed with the disease.

According to our Dallas sister station WFAA, three children in North Texas have also been confirmed to have AFM.

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

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State health officials said that AFM is not a disease that is required to be reported, so the number of cases is based on those who have voluntarily reported it.

Though officials have observed a rise in cases since 2014, the condition's origins remain unclear.

There are several ways people can contract AFM, including exposure to toxins in the air, genetic factors or through viruses such as poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus and Saint Louis encephalitis virus, according to the agency.

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.

In previous years, cases of AFM in Colorado and elsewhere have been positive for a different enterovirus, EV-D68.

The rare, poorly understood, polio-like illness is thought to attack the body's nervous system - specifically, the spinal cord - and can cause paralysis.

The health department says there are no specific recommendations for avoiding AFM, but washing your hands, avoiding close contact with sick people, cleaning surfaces with disinfectants, and staying up-to-date on immunizations is recommended.

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