Colorado health department reports 14 cases of polio-like illness in children

6 Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease

The Center for Disease Control started tracking AFM in 2014 and in one study, it found about a quarter of patients had fully recovered and regained use of their muscles after one year. But not all who fall ill from an enterovirus will go on to develop the condition, experts say.

Dr. Fernando Acosta Jr., a neurologist at Cook Children's, said there is no cure or treatment at this time.

At Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, physicians are treating some of the six Minnesota cases. It affects a person's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.

- Add the Keystone State to the list of places now dealing with a mysterious polio-like illness that can partially paralyze children.

Other states have also reported cases.




The illness causes a weakening of the nerves and resembles polio. Symptoms can include: sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes, facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids and difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech. "We're working closely with medical providers and public health agencies". The CDC reviews medical information on all reported clinical cases to classify cases as AFM.

"Most of the cases [of AFM] that CDC has learned about have been in children", the CDC writes on its website. Nationwide, 38 cases in 16 states have been reported and there is still no known cause.

Since 2015, when IL began monitoring reports of AFM in the state, four confirmed cases have been identified. Many people compare the disease to polio because it can cause problems that are very similar to the poliovirus.

Although we are still learning about AFM and its causes, being up to date on all recommended vaccinations is one way to protect yourself and your family from diseases that can cause AFM.

However, 11 of the Colorado cases of AFM have tested positive for EV A71, a rare type of enterovirus not usually seen in the USA but instead in Asia and other parts of the world, according to Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the Colorado state epidemiologist. Most said parents can do is encouraging kids to wash their hands, teaching them to cover their mouths with their elbow when they cough or sneeze, and keep them home if they are sick. There were about 15 cases reported in August 2018.

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