Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Health Care | By Edgar Pierce

Minnesota Children Diagnosed With Rare 'Polio-Like' Illness

Minnesota Children Diagnosed With Rare 'Polio-Like' Illness

The children are from King, Pierce, Snohomish and Lewis counties, the health department said.

AFM affects the nervous system and causes, mostly in children, paralysis similar to polio. Four of the five children had a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, the department said.

Some viruses and germs have been linked to AFM, including common germs that can cause colds and sore throats, and respiratory infections.

Minnesota typically sees, at most, one case of acute flaccid myelitis a year, so it's concerning that such a large group has presented with the illness at the same time. It was announced on October 5 that six Minnesota children had developed the disease since mid-September and a case in Iowa was announced on October 10.

In a separate statement, the agency said that it was "aware of several patients in Minnesota who have clinical symptoms" consistent with AFM and that it was "working closely with the Minnesota State Health Department to investigate these cases".

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"I just felt so sad for him that this thing that we didn't know about and couldn't protect him from had happened and had taken a lot away from him", Michael added. AFM can cause paralysis that can prove deadly if the patient loses the ability to breathe on their own. "That enterovirus is transmittable from person to person, but you can't actually catch AFM from somebody else". AFM is not spread from person to person.

Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition. Instead, people who are diagnosed with it are given "aggressive supportive care", Adalja says.

Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM is considered a very rare condition, with fewer than 1 in 1 million people in the US getting the illness, the CDC said.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said there have been 38 confirmed cases of AFM this year through the end of September.

Colorado has had 14 AFM cases so far this year, according to Colorado state epidemioloogist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. Then, cases spiked again to 149 in 2016. Only one case has been confirmed this year, but officials are still investigating the latest possible cases. However, it recommends practicing disease prevention measures, including staying up-to-date on vaccines and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.

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