Six cases of rare ‘polio-like’ illness diagnosed in children in Minnesota

Since, mid-September Six children in Minnesota have been diagnosed with a rare “polio-like” disease, State health officials said.

AFM (Acute Flaccid Myelitis) is rare but serious condition that affects the body’s nervous system specifically, the spinal cord  causing muscles to weaken and can cause paralysis. There is no vaccine for Acute Flaccid Myelitis, AFM.

State Department of Health report says, Minnesota typically sees less than one case a year. This rare disease mostly affects children only, all recent cases in Minnesota were in children younger than 10.

AFM (Acute Flaccid Myelitis) can develop from a viral infection, although its exact cause is unknown.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis symptoms include sudden muscle weakness in the legs or arms, Dropping eyelids, Respiratory illness, Neck weakness, Trouble swallowing/ talking.

Since AFM (Acute Flaccid Myelitis) can develop as a result of a viral infection, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends parents and children take basic steps to avoid infections and stay healthy:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands frequently to limit your exposure to germs.
  • Protect yourself and children from mosquito bites if you’re spending time outside.
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Treatments focuses only on alleviating symptoms.

In 2014 August, AFM cases first spiked in the United States. By the end of the year, 120 people had been diagnosed in 34 states.

The increase coincided with a national outbreak of severe respiratory illness caused by enterovirus D68. From August 2014 through August 2018, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received information on 362 cases of AFM across the United States.

The CDC says it’s important to practice disease prevention steps: staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and preventing mosquito bites.