Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

UPMC confirms 3 suspected cases of rare disease that paralyzes children

UPMC confirms 3 suspected cases of rare disease that paralyzes children

- The number of cases of a rare polio-like virus are growing across the United States and six of those cases have been reported in Minnesota. Fourteen cases have been reported in Colorado and six in Minnesota, majority children.

The CDC says less than 1 in a million Americans develop AFM a year.

In a similar case of AFM, Camden Stravers, a three-and-a-half-year-old from Iowa, who was healthy just three months ago, can no longer support his head and suffers from partial paralysis in his arm, 6ABC reported.

Most AFM sufferers notice sudden muscle weakness in their limbs and loss of reflexes.

At this point, doctors are not required to report AFM to the state, so it is possible that there could be unreported cases out there, according to DSHS.

On Wednesday, theIllinois Department of Public Health announced it was investigating nine recent cases of AFM in patients under the age of 18, all of which are reportedly limited to "northern Illinois".

AFM has a variety of causes, the CDC said, including genetic disorders, viruses and environmental toxins.

Four of the five children had a fever of 100.4 or greater.

"It can extremely change lifestyles for these families", said Dr. Fernando Acosta, a neurologist at Cook Children's.

Most of the eight cases of the illness reported in Texas are in the northern part of the state. AFM is a serious nervous system condition that causes patients' muscles to weaken and other polio-like symptoms. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said of those cases, 11 people tested positive for enterovirus A71, one tested positive for enterovirus D68 and two people tested negative for any type of enterovirus. In 2017 there were three cases, and since the beginning of 2018 there has been one case in the state.

Dr. Tina Tan, who specializes in infectious diseases and has attended to Julia, said the best advice for parents is to be vigilant and take note of concerning symptoms. After the 120 cases in 2014, there were 22 in 2015, 149 in 2016, and 33 a year ago, according to the agency.

Doctors are encouraging people to practice what are called "general prevention strategies" - including washing your hands with soap and water, getting vaccinated and preventing mosquito bites.

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