Rare Polio-Like Illness Strikes 6 Minnesota Children

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It seems to wax and wane from one year to the next, the CDC says. That's down from 33 cases for all of 2017.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that two Chicago-area children are being treated at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago for the illness - including 2-year-old Julia Payne, who has been fighting the illness for almost a month.

The Minnesota Department of Health has issued an advisory to doctors after six children were diagnosed with a rare disorder that affects the spinal cord. "That makes it seem like in 2018 it could come back".

Also this week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced that 14 cases of AFM have occurred in the state this year.

While aspects of the condition are puzzling, Messacar says it's no mystery disease. 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.

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Both EV-D68 and EV-A71 are enteroviruses, and they are in the same family of viruses as polio.

The children affected suffer single or multi-limb weakness. It can often infect people with mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all.

In very rare cases, AFM can trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death. "So, we've seen that there's an association between viruses, specifically enterovirus, in the past".

"Scientifically, we don't understand why only some children will go on to develop AFM", Schleiss said.

For example, a neurologist may recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness.

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

"Parents described their kids as dizzy, wobbly and having jerky movements", Herlihy said. It is actively investigating AFM cases, and trying to unearth more information about the rare condition. However since then, officials say they typically see less than one case a year. Cases have been reported from the Twin Cities, central and northeastern Minnesota. Most patients must be hospitalized. This is because CDC is asking doctors to be alert for patients with symptoms of AFM so that we can learn more about this condition. The long-term effects are unknown at this time. This can require urgent ventilator support (breathing machine).

For 7 year-old Quinton Hill of Lakeville, AFM has left him with paralysis in his left arm. Elaine and Michael Young said that soon after their now-four-year-old son Orville developed a fever in July, he started losing mobility in his right arm.

Diagnosis includes a brain and spine MRI and a spinal tap to test fluid.

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