Children’s Mercy Hospital treating patients with rare polio-like illness


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From August 2014 to August 2018, the CDC reported receiving information that there had been a total of 362 cases, most of which affected children.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) specifically affects the spinal cord, causing the muscles and reflexes in the body to work abnormally. It causes symptoms ranging from muscle weakness to complete paralysis. The condition escalates quickly, and can begin with signs as innocuous as dizziness, trouble swallowing or trouble moving an arm.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 38 cases of AFM have been confirmed across 16 states including Pennsylvania.

CDC did not name the states, but health officials in Colorado said they had 14 cases in 2018 and officials in Minnesota confirmed six. As of now there has been 10 cases of AFM reported in Northern Illinois. But there is a suspected case in Buffalo involving a 3-year-old boy.

A spokeperson for the CDC said the agency did not plan to release updated numbers this week. AFM has been compared to polio because the condition can lead to paralysis. "We will continue to work with our partners at the CDC and local health departments to make sure that all NY families have the information they need to prevent their children and others from getting the virus".

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There have been eight people diagnosed with the illness in Texas.

Alabama is investigating two possible cases, also.

Still, CDC estimates that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year. "Shoot, two months ago I couldn't walk now I can in my walker".

Health officials will never have a firm count of cases of AFM because not all states require doctors to report them. Since then, more than 350 cases of the illness have been reported in the US over a four-year period.

Other causes have been linked to environmental toxins, genetic disorders and viruses similar to the West Nile virus, according to state health officials.