Minnesota 1 of 22 States Now Reporting Mysterious Paralyzing Illness

Cases of Mysterious Paralyzing Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Reported in 22 states

Five kids in Maryland may have a polio-like disease, as CDC investigates

Federal health officials are anxious about an increase in a mysterious and rare condition that mostly affects children and can paralyze arms and legs, with 127 confirmed or suspected cases reported as of Tuesday. Disease investigators believe this was linked to an outbreak of a respiratory illness in children that was caused by a virus known as enterovirus D 68 (EVD68). For reasons not fully understood, AFM affects mainly children. Another kind of virus is suspected, but it's been found in only some of the cases.

A rare syndrome with polio-like symptoms is becoming more common in the country, with cases popping up in Wisconsin.

The CDC says AFM is diagnosed by examining a patient's nervous system in combination with reviewing pictures of the spinal cord and observing the weakness in muscles and decreased reflexes. Cases have been reported from the Twin Cities, central Minnesota and northeastern Minnesota.

The CDC said 127 cases are now under investigation.

It is given by a shot in the arm or leg, depending on the person's age.

"Some people recover quickly", she said.

There was a national uptick in AFM cases in 2014, according to MDH.

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"This is an emerging condition", Wozniak said. Minnesota saw three AFM cases that year.

If you fear your child has any of these symptoms, you are urged to seek medical attention immediately.

The agency knows that poliovirus is not the cause of these cases because CDC has tested every single stool specimen from patients, and none have tested positive for poliovirus. Some possible suspects, such as polio and West Nile virus, have been ruled out.

The CDC said from August 2014 through August 2018, the CDC received information on a total of 362 cases of AFM across the USA.

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There are no specific treatments for AFM, but Flint said doctors can try to target the disease's neurological side effects.

Benjamin Greenberg, a neurologist who has treated children with AFM at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, said AFM is "exquisitely rare". But some state health departments have been making public their reported cases.

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