Concerns growing over rare polio-like condition in children

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been tracking cases in the United States, says the condition isn't new but reports that public health officials nationwide saw an uptick in cases starting in 2014.

The reported IL cases are preliminary diagnoses and only the U.S. Centers for Disease Control can confirm the diagnosis, according to Arnold. "Isolation protocols and infection control procedures are in place and we're working with the CDC and the Allegheny County Health Department to further monitor and evaluate the patient conditions".

AFM was first discovered in 2014, and since August of that year, the CDC has received information about a total of 362 cases across the U.S. It's possible that AFM has a variety of causes, including viruses (such as poliovirus and enteroviruses), environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC says.

The children were hospitalized after experiencing "sudden onset of paralysis of one or more limbs". The disease was most prevalent in 2014 when 120 cases, most in Colorado and California, were reported. This follows an unusual rise this year in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in several states.

Concern is growing over mysterious outbreaks of a rare polio-like condition in children.

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In her letter, Ms. Klobuchar asked Dr. Redfield to accelerate the CDC's response and investigation of the spike in AFM cases.

In 2016, there was a cluster of nine cases of AFM in Washington and there were three in 2017, according to the health department. "Cases have been reported from the Twin Cities, central Minnesota and northeastern Minnesota", the state health department said in a statement. The agency is also studying AFM outbreaks to better understand the condition and uring healthcare providers to be vigilant about its symptoms.

Avoiding germs could help lower the risk of getting the disease, including washing your hands or staying up-to-date on vaccinations.

Other symptoms include neck weakness, drooping eyelids and slurred speech, according to the state department. Because the virus was present in many early confirmed cases of AFM, the CDC believes it to be a primary cause of the condition. AFM can cause a range of types and severity of symptoms, but the commonality among them is a loss of strength or movement in one or more arms or legs.

The disease usually presents itself at the end of a cold and then causes muscle weakness. Some people may be unable to urinate, and, in severe cases, a person can suffer respiratory failure and must be put on a ventilator. And there are other diseases that mimic the symptoms, such as West Nile virus and Guillain Barre syndrome.

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