Kids In Minnesota With 'Polio-Like' Illness -Said Health Official

12 October, 2018, 11:26 | Author: Sue Riley
  • Rare Polio-Like Illness Strikes 6 Minnesota Children

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated six children in Minnesota have been diagnosed with a rare polio-like illness since mid-September, all under the age of 10.

There are three new cases of a rare illness with symptoms similar to polio, and the patients are being treated in Pittsburgh.

The CDC says there have been a total of 362 cases nationally between August 2014 and August 2018, with 38 confirmed cases so far this year.

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

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., urged the CDC to investigate the national uptick of acute flaccid myelitis infections among children in an October 9 letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD.

Symptoms include drooping face and eyelids, difficulty moving eyes and swallowing, and slurred speech. Some people with AFM may be unable to pass urine (pee). This can require urgent ventilator support (breathing machine).

In very rare cases, AFM can trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death. AFM can be developed from a viral infection, although its exact cause is unknown.

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In Minnesota, health officials have fielded calls from the public and doctors about how to prevent the onset, Griffith said. If their children start to show symptoms of AFM, they are being told to bring them to the hospital immediately. "A person's arms and legs can become weak or paralyzed depending on the area of the spinal cord that is inflamed".

Although acute flaccid myelitis is terrifying, Adalja says parents should not stay awake at night worrying about it.

The most common transmission of AFM is through a virus, exposure to environmental toxins and genetic disorders.

Oftentimes, despite extensive lab tests, the cause of a patient's AFM is not identified. However, doctors who specialize in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis. For example, neurologists may recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness caused by AFM.

The outcomes for those afflicted are varied, she said, with some patients recovering fully and others dealing with some level of paralysis for the rest of their lives.

AFM can occur as a result of a variety of germs including polio virus and non-polio enteroviruses, West Nile virus, and adenoviruses.

You can protect yourself and your children from poliovirus by getting vaccinated. Less than one in a million people in the United States get AFM each year.

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