Children From Washington Hit With Rare Disease Similar To Polio

University Hospitals 2 patients suspected of having potentially fatal infectious disease

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) New York state health officials say 39 children have been found to have a virus that in rare cases, causes a polio-like condition.

In the USA, "the increase in AFM cases in 2014 coincided with a national outbreak of severe respiratory illness among people caused by enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)". The children are residents of King County (2), Pierce County (1), Lewis County (1), and Snohomish County (1).

Most of the cases logged by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been children.

Acute flaccid myelitis is not new, but the CDC has seen an increase in cases nationwide since late summer 2014.

Symptoms, health officials say, can be similar to those associated with poliovirus and West Nile and include facial and eyelid drooping, facial weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, sudden limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs. Most of the cases that CDC has learned about have been in children.

"All suspected cases are sent to the CDC for review by their neurologists", said Lara Anton of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

"So while we don't know what causes AFM, its still a good reminder to do all of the things you'd usually do during cold and flu season to keep you and your family safe: things like washing your hands, avoiding contact with sick people, cleaning surfaces with disinfectant ... could be important", she said.

Two children in IL have been diagnosed with a rare Polio-like illness that is seeing a sudden uptick, mainly in kids, across the US. It again increased in 2016, with 149 cases confirmed in 38 states and the District of Columbia. However, it recommends practicing disease prevention measures, including staying up-to-date on vaccines and protecting yourself from mosquito bites. In 2017 there were three cases, and since the beginning of 2018 there has been one case in the state. It affects mostly children, according to the CDC.

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