Five children in Washington state stricken with limb paralysis; health officials investigating

Rare illness leaves 3-year-old boy paralyzed

Rare Polio-Like Illness Strikes 6 Minnesota Children

Six children in Minnesota have been detected with an exceptional "polio-like" bug since mid-September, state health officials said, all the latest cases were in kids below 10.

Minnesota typically sees less than one case a year, the state Department of Health reported.

AFM is a condition that affects the body's nervous system, targets the spinal cord, and could lead to paralysis. Health officials are collecting information about the cases from health providers and are in contact with the CDC, the MDH said.

Between August 2014 and August 2018, the CDC received information on 362 cases of AFM nationwide. And at the end of 2104, total numbers of people affected from AFM were 120 in 34 states. An investigation is underway to determine what caused these specific cases of AFM.

Symptoms often include a sudden onset of muscle weakness in the arms or legs and a loss of muscle tone and reflexes, sometimes following a respiratory illness.

This condition is not new, according to the CDC, but the agency began seeing an increase in cases four years ago, nearly all involving young children.

Quinton has lost a lot of the strength in his left arm, along with some weakness in his legs and neck.

Thirty-eight cases of AFM have been confirmed in the United States so far this year, according to the CDC.

All of the cases involve infants or children under the age of six.

On average, the Minnesota Department of Health sees only about one case per year. They come from all over the state, including the Twin Cities area and northeastern and central Minnesota. These include washing hands frequently to limit exposure to germs, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing and staying home when feeling sick.

Disease investigators believe this was linked to an outbreak of a respiratory illness in children that was caused by a virus known as enterovirus D68 (EVD68). It mainly affects children.

Without a clear cause, it's not possible to say whether more children will be diagnosed with AFM, Ehresmann says. 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. A doctor can also do an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look at a patient's brain and spinal cord, do lab tests on the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord) and may check nerve conduction (impulse sent along a nerve fiber) and response.

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