'Polio-like' illness cases continue to rise

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Akron Children's is waiting on lab results of two cases that seem to fit the "clinical picture" of AFM. "They're exactly alike. It's patchy, focal weakness, and it can occur anywhere in the body", said Dr. Acosta. The children are residents of King County (2), Pierce County (1), Lewis County (1), and Snohomish County (1) - the additional case is from Skagit County. "We have 41 cases of children who have had some sort of illness of enterovirus A71, which is causing a wide spectrum of neurological illness".

Health officials said that a single cause of AFM has not been found and often no cause is found.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that health care providers in the state have reported nine clinically-diagnosed cases of a rare condition that afflicts the nervous system, in particular the spinal cord.

Basic symptoms usually add lower backache or sharp shooting sensations that shoot out down the legs or arms or around the torso, aural alterations, dotting symptoms, Difficulty moving the eyes or bending eyelids, Facial dangle or weakness, Difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech, sudden arm or leg weakness.

Even with extensive lab testing, AFM is hard to diagnose, because it so similar to other conditions, including poliovirus, West Nile virus and adenoviruses, the CDC reports. Four of the five children had a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, the department said.

The doctor says there is no need to panic and there's no vaccine for the disease. Some people with AFM may be unable to pass urine (pee).

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Because of AFM's possible roots in polio, doctors and medical health professionals are urging parents to stay up-to-date on their children's vaccinations.

"This is very, very dramatic when you see it", said. One case was reported earlier this year.

While there is no cure for the virus, neurologists can recommend treatments.

In 2017, 33 cases were reported in 16 states. From August 2014 through August 2018, the CDC has been notified of 362 cases of the illness, mostly in children.

Dr. Jennifer McKay with Avera said prevention of this virus is easy - wash your hands and if your child is sick to keep them home from school.

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