Minnesota kids suffer rare, polio-like disorder

Minnesota kids suffer rare, polio-like disorder

Six children have been diagnosed with a rare and potentially deadly polio-like disease in Minnesota, state health officials revealed Friday.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has since mid-September received a half-dozen reports of children with AFM, according to a statement. It sometimes - but not always - goes along with viral infections including polio, West Nile Virus and respiratory illnesses, but environmental and genetic factors may also play a part, the CDC says. CDC has been actively investigating these AFM cases, and we continue to receive information about suspected AFM cases. From August 2014 through August 2018, the CDC has been notified of 362 cases of the illness, mostly in children.

Since August 2014, CDC has seen an increased number of people across the United States with AFM. The cause of any individual case of AFM can be hard to determine, and often, no cause is found. CDC specialists will make the final determination if these cases are AFM.

Symptoms can include sudden arm or leg weakness, a loss of reflexes, facial droopiness or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, or slurred speech, the CDC says.

Quinton has lost a lot of the strength in his left arm, along with some weakness in his legs and neck. "All recent Minnesota cases have been in children under 10 years old and all were hospitalized".

The case of Orville Young, 4, was among the first in Minnesota to be reported. The severe form the disease can cause neurologic symptoms, including encephalitis and AFM.

Karen Hacker says medical professionals are still trying to figure out what causes AFM.

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Minnesota typically sees, at most, one case of acute flaccid myelitis a year, so it's concerning that such a large group has presented with the illness at the same time.

Health experts say the disease can lead to paralysis and even death.

Doctors stress the importance of recognizing symptoms early and seek care as soon as possible. The CDC3 does not advocate the use of steroids, IVig, or plasma exchange in AFM, but individuals with AFM or caregivers of children with AFM should discuss treatment recommendations with their physician.

While there are a variety of possible causes for the disease, there is no known cure.

The disease usually presents itself at the end of a cold and then causes muscle weakness.

After several tests, doctors were only able to find a diagnosis after a second MRI, finding abnormality throughout his entire spinal cord.

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