Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Rare illness affecting kids discovered in King, Pierce, Lewis and Snohomish counties

Rare illness affecting kids discovered in King, Pierce, Lewis and Snohomish counties

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed on Tuesday evening that three children suspected of having acute flaccid myelitis are being treated.

Doctors say that it can start out just like a common cold.

Cases of a rare polio-like illness that are turning up across the country are also appearing here in North Texas. However, the 2014 cases coincided with a national outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a virus called enterovirus D68.

"Most of the cases [of AFM] that CDC has learned about have been in children", the CDC writes on its website.

According to the Washington Department of Health, the children are being evaluated for acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare condition that affects a person's nervous system and can cause paralysis. A 2-year-old girl was recently diagnosed in the Chicago area, and UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed that three children are now being treated for AFM at their facility.

With cases on the rise, parents like Wells say she'll keep those symptoms in mind. Three cases were reported in 2017, and one other case was reported in Washington since the beginning of 2018.

The children were hospitalized after experiencing "sudden onset of paralysis of one or more limbs".

The cases are from individuals younger than 18 years of age and from northern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday. "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.

The CDC must review case information to confirm the cases under observation in Pittsburgh, a process which could take a few weeks, Scarpino said. Treatment mainly boils down to alleviating those symptoms. It may also be helpful to wash hands often with soap and water, the agency says. This does not include all of the 14 cases announced by Colorado, as some of those cases were confirmed after September 30.

The CDC says it got information on 362 cases of the illness in the USA from August 2014 through August 2018.

Six is the highest number of cases Minnesota has ever seen. After the 120 cases in 2014, there were 22 in 2015, 149 in 2016, and 33 a year ago, according to the agency.

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