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

Rare Polio-Like Illness Strikes 6 Minnesota Children

All six cases required hospitalization and prompted health officials to encourage parents to closely monitor their children for symptoms. 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.

The mysterious illness that's paralyzing children is spreading across the United States, with cases popping up in both Chicago and Pittsburgh after initial reports from Minnesota.

The parents of a Batavia 2-year-old, Julia Payne, went public in hopes of raising awareness for acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, that causes inflammation in the spinal cord area that directly affects a person's muscles.

The exact reasons that the condition appears are not known, but neurological conditions have a variety of triggers, such as viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC said.

In addition to limited mobility of arms and legs, symptoms include neck weakness or stiffness, drooping eyelids or a facial droop and difficulty swallowing or slurred speech. While uncommon, AFM is serious and can lead to paralysis or even death.

The CDC says it got information on 362 cases of the illness in the USA from August 2014 through August 2018.

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"As AFM affects mostly children and has no known cure, it is imperative that CDC conduct an expedited investigation and response to AFM infections", Ms. Klobuchar wrote in the letter. From August 2014 through August 2018, the CDC received information on 362 cases of AFM. The CDC also advises washing hands with soap and water and covering your cough or sneeze, standard practices to reduce the spread of germs.

Like many children, Julia Payne, the toddler at Lurie, started to show signs of weakness and problems breathing on her own after a prolonged cold, said Dr. Marcelo Malakooti, the medical director for Lurie's pediatric intensive care unit. Some people may be unable to urinate, and, in severe cases, a person can suffer respiratory failure and must be put on a ventilator.

Health officials said that a single cause of AFM has not been found and often no cause is found.

Much is still unknown about AFM and often, a cause for AFM can not be identified. These symptoms are similar to polio or the West Nile Virus. The CDC3 does not advocate the use of steroids, IVig, or plasma exchange in AFM, but individuals with AFM or caregivers of children with AFM should discuss treatment recommendations with their physician.

Luckily, he was diagnosed fairly quickly since a doctor at the hospital where he was treated wrote a paper on AFM.

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