Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

9 cases of polio-like illness reported in Illinois

6 Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease Klobuchar Calls for CDC Investigation of Polio-Like Illness
Gustavo Carr | 13 October, 2018, 14:27

Since 2015, the department had seen four cases of AFM, and the recent spike has officials working closely with health care providers to collect information to send to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-year-old Hannah McNeill became paralyzed from the waist down several months ago, becoming one of the few adults to received a diagnosis of Acute Flaccid Myelitis. The CDC says the condition is not new but there's been an increase in cases starting in 2014.

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.

In 2017, 33 cases were reported in 16 states. The causes of AFM vary from viruses to environmental toxins to genetic disorders, according to the health department.

Symptoms can include sudden arm or leg weakness, a loss of reflexes, facial droopiness or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, or slurred speech, the CDC says. Officials said most of the cases are associated with a strain of enterovirus.

"What we do know is that AFM can be caused by lots of different things, and one of those things is a viral infection", Dr. Meade said.

"Scientifically, we don't understand why only some children will go on to develop AFM", Schleiss said. However, the patients can regain functionality of the muscles through physical therapy.

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The agency is also warning parents to be vigilant about protecting kids from mosquito bites because of the possible connection between West Nile virus and AFM.

One case has also been confirmed in Wisconsin. "This is certainly the largest outbreak of enterovirus A71 we've seen in Colorado". It's an extremely rare disease and similar to polio because it attacks the nervous system. "That enterovirus is transmittable from person to person, but you can't actually catch AFM from somebody else".

"Oftentimes, despite extensive lab tests, the cause of a patient's AFM is not identified", the CDC says.

The CDC has recorded 362 official cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the USA between August 2014 through August 2018.

Dr. Jennifer McKay with Avera said prevention of this virus is easy - wash your hands and if your child is sick to keep them home from school.