Polio-like disease on the rise in Minnesota

ID 114750476

ID 114750476

This follows an unusual rise this year in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in several states.

Nine cases of AFM were reported in Washington state in 2016.

All the children showed systems of a respiratory illness the week before developing symptoms of AFM. These symptoms are remarkably similar to polio or the West Nile Virus.

For reasons not fully understood, AFM affects mainly children. "They may have facial weakness, facial drooping, unable to speak, trouble swallowing", said Dr. Marcelo Malakooti.

Local public health officials have been notified and are working with the hospital, state Department of Health and the CDC, county Health Department spokesman Ryan Scarpino said.

Specialists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will confirm the diagnoses.

The causes of AFM are unknown, but it can develop as a result of a viral infection.

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Two cases were reported in King County. Between January 1 to September 30, 2018, 38 people in 16 states have been confirmed to have AFM.

"While all the patients were hospitalized, almost all have fully recovered", the department stressed.

"These are all children under five", said Chas DeBolt, a senior epidemiologist for vaccine-preventable disease at the Department of Health.

"There's a sudden onset of weakness in the arm, leg, face, or the muscles that help us swallow and that we use to speak", says Dr. Amaran Moodley from the Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.

Herlihy noted it's "quite rare" to suffer neurological complications like AFM, encephalitis and meningitis from enteroviruses.

Most people will instead experience things like a cold, a rash, diarrhea or hand, foot and mouth disease, she explained.

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