Concerns growing over rare polio-like condition in children

Quinton Hill and his parents

Quinton Hill and his parents

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.

State and federal officials are now investigating six possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in Washington state.

All six cases under investigation were in children under six years old.

The state health department is working with the CDC to determine if these are indeed cases of AFM. It can impair muscle reflexes and cause weakness in arms and legs.

Since August 2014, when the CDC began tracking the illness more closely, the agency has reported 362 cases.

The CDC says symptoms of AFM include facial drooping or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids or difficulty swallowing or slurred speech. These symptoms are remarkably similar to polio or the West Nile Virus.

At least one person has been confirmed to have an illness called AFM in Travis County, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

The virus is actually a common cold virus.

To try and restore function to Maipele, Dr. Mitchel Seruya at Children's Hospital Los Angeles carried out a pioneering nerve transfer surgery.

The CDC says that both the cause and long-term effects of the disease remain unknown.

The Colorado Department of Health says it has 14 confirmed cases this year, all of whom are children who needed hospitalization. Individuals diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) experience different issues due to largely gray matter involvement during recovery than traditional transverse myelitis with spastic paralysis.

All the children showed systems of a respiratory illness the week before developing symptoms of AFM.

"It's extremely uncommon this is not something that parents should be concerned about sending their children from school or anything but it's time to get back to the basics of how we prevent viruses from spreading", Dr. A 2016 report found there were 120 cases recorded across 34 states from August through December 2014.

The CDC recommends people follow normal disease prevention steps to avoid AFM, including staying current on vaccines, washing hands and avoiding mosquito bites.

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