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North Texas Children Among Those With Rare Polio-Like Illness

11 October 2018

However, the 2014 cases coincided with a national outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a virus called enterovirus D68.

The rare condition can be caused by a virus, a genetic disorder and environmental toxins. Instead, doctors just focus on alleviating symptoms as best they can.

"The patients are now undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatment", said Andrea Kunicky, a spokeswoman for UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where the children are being treated.

AFM is a rare but serious condition that has been compared with polio because it, too, can lead to paralysis and, in some cases, death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Minnesota cases have been diagnosed since September 20, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, which says officials are working "aggressively" with health care providers to try to gather more information about the cases.

"Most of the cases [of AFM] that CDC has learned about have been in children", the CDC writes on its website. Dr. Meade said sometimes people recover from the paralysis, but others don't recover even after several years. "That enterovirus is transmittable from person to person, but you can't actually catch AFM from somebody else".

It resembles polio, but unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM. It's also known as 'AFM'.

And in 2018 alone, 38 new cases of AFM in 16 states across the country were confirmed by the CDC.

Health officials are warning parents to be on the lookout for symptoms.

The condition, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), was first identified in 2014, when there were 120 cases, NBC News reported. You can reduce the chance of mosquito bites by using insect repellent and keeping kids indoors during times when mosquitos are prevalent.

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. The best prevention is washing your hands often.

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

North Texas Children Among Those With Rare Polio-Like Illness