Saturday, 20 October, 2018

UPMC confirms 3 suspected cases of rare disease that paralyzes children

There's been a spike in a rare polio-like disease that mostly affects children. State health officials say 14 cases have been reported in Colorado 6 Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease
Gustavo Carr | 11 October, 2018, 13:00

She was later diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis and has been undergoing treatment for the last month at Lurie Children's Hospital. "They may have difficulty moving their eyes and some have slurred speech or difficulty swallowing; so very rare symptoms that you wouldn't expect to see in a child, so can be picked up very quickly", said Dr. Kevin Most, Northwestern.

There are several ways people can contract AFM, including exposure to toxins in the air, genetic factors or through viruses such as poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus and Saint Louis encephalitis virus, according to the agency. "Less than one in a million people in the United States get AFM each year", the CDC says. It can impair muscle reflexes and cause weakness in arms and legs.

The causes of AFM are unknown, but it can develop as a result of a viral infection. In Washington state, the Department of Health is investigating at least five cases this year that have sent kids to the hospital.

The CDC must review case information to confirm the cases under observation in Pittsburgh, a process which could take a few weeks, Scarpino said. Back in 2016, Washington state had 10 cases of AFM. A few require ventilators to breathe, NBC News reported.

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"At this point there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases", Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health, said.

"We want research. We want what happened to Julia not to happen to anyone else", she said.

Most people will instead experience things like a cold, a rash, diarrhea or hand, foot and mouth disease, she explained.