"Polio-like" Disease may spread in Minnesota after Six Cases

12 October, 2018, 01:11 | Author: Judith Dennis
  • Rare Polio-Like Illness Strikes 6 Minnesota Children

Symptoms typically include sudden weakness in one or more arms or legs, along with loss of muscle tone and decreased or absent reflexes. And yesterday (Oct. 10), the Illinois Department of Public Health said it had received recent reports of nine children diagnosed with the condition.

There is no vaccination against AFM, so the CDC recommends preventing diseases that can lead to the disease, including poliovirus and West Nile. She says A-F-M is serious but rare, affecting about one in a million people.

How many children have been diagnosed with AFM? .

Doctors now don't know a lot about how AFM spreads.

The father of a child with AFM, 7-year-old Quinton Hill from Lakeville, Minnesota, spoke with USA Today about his son's condition. The increase coincided with a national outbreak of respiratory illnesses caused by a virus known as enterovirus D68. For decades, Americans believed they had defeated this debilitating disease, but in 2014 a mysterious new disease called Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) emerged. While AFM doesn't have a cure, the symptoms can be treated and in most cases death can be avoided. There's no vaccine against EV-D68 or EV-A71, so the same precautions apply as for any other infectious disease: people should wash their hands frequently, stay home when they are sick, cover coughs and sneezes and stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing. Health officials are collecting information about the cases from health providers and are in contact with the CDC, the MDH said.

After several tests, doctors were only able to find a diagnosis after a second MRI, finding abnormality throughout his entire spinal cord.

The cause of AFM, and the reason for the rise in cases starting in 2014, is not known. By the end of 2014, 120 people had been diagnosed in 34 states.

AFM "can be a complication following a viral infection, but environmental and genetic factors may also contribute to its development", the Minnesota Department of Health said.

The family has felt helpless these past few weeks, dealing with a disease doctors know very little about, but thanks to other families, who are going through the same condition they are, they're now feeling better about their situation. Though the AFM cases show a similar seasonality as polio, Osterholm said a difference in the recent AFM pattern is that most severe polio cases were in adults. 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.

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