Illinois, Colorado, Washington report cases of polio-like illness in children

13 October, 2018, 14:47 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • There's been a spike in a rare polio-like disease that mostly affects children. State health officials say 14 cases have been reported in Colorado

Usually, the state sees zero to one AFM cases a year.

Katie Payne, the child's mother, said her faith is what's keeping them going, and said she's sharing this story to help spread the word about the illness. 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. Less than one in a million people will get AFM annually. "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". It wasn't for two-year-old Maipele Burns, whose AFM attack caused her to lose all function in her right arm.

Health departments in several states, including Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois and Washington are investigating confirmed cases in their areas, many of which are not included in the CDC's totals because they were confirmed after September 30th. Four of the five children had a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, the department said.

Some viruses and germs have been linked to AFM, including common germs that can cause colds and sore throats, and respiratory infections. 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.

Doctors now don't know a lot about how AFM spreads.

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The CDC's website explains, "A doctor can tell the difference between AFM and other diseases with a careful examination of the nervous system, looking at the location of the weakness, muscle tone and reflexes". He said, "If one arm isn't working correctly, or one leg, or one side of the body, or if you notice an asymmetry in the face where one side looks very different than the other side, that child should be evaluated".

However, a person can catch a virus from someone that leads to AFM.

And in 2018 alone, 38 new cases of AFM in 16 states across the country were confirmed by the CDC. They recommend as prevention regular hand-washing and avoiding mosquito bites.

In 2016, there were nine cases of AFM in Washington and three in 2017.

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