Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Minnesota kids suffer rare, polio-like disorder

Minnesota kids suffer rare, polio-like disorder

The disorder is called acute flaccid myelitis - or AFM, for short - and there has been an increase in cases across the USA since 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been 38 confirmed cases of AFM in 16 states so far, KDKA-TV in Pittsburg reported.

Six children in Minnesota have contracted AFM since mid-September, the state health department said October 5.

Let's hope and pray doctors can find a cure, or perhaps a vaccine. That was the case with Orville Young, a 4-year-old boy in Minnesota who lost mobility in his right arm and had difficulty sitting up and moving his legs. AFM cases have been reported from across the state, including the Twin Cities, central Minnesota, and northeastern Minnesota.

The disease is not new, but there was an uptick in cases starting in 2014, the CDC says.

AFM or similar neurologic conditions may have a variety of possible causes such as viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders.

AFM was first discovered in 2014, and since August of that year, the CDC has received information about a total of 362 cases across the U.S.

While fewer than 1 in a million people in the USA are diagnosed with AFM each year, the CDC is concerned about the recurrent outbreaks, especially given the mysterious nature of the illness.

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"There are cases of good recovery and good potential for good healing", said Sinner.

The type of viruses found in 12 of the Colorado cases, enterovirus, typically increases in summer and fall and is common, the state department of health said. A medical report detailing the case of a 12-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with AFM noted that caring for patients with AFM often means involving an infectious disease physician, a neurologist, an orthotist, physical therapist and a speech therapist.

"The CDC will make the final determination on diagnoses and numbers are subject to change", the statement said.

Most AFM sufferers notice sudden muscle weakness in their limbs and loss of reflexes.

How is it prevented and treated?

Health experts say the disease can lead to paralysis and even death. "It's a very devastating situation" for the children and their families, she said. The department has issued a health alert.

Health officials are warning parents to be on the lookout for symptoms. This does not include all of the 14 cases announced by Colorado, as some of those cases were confirmed after September 30. Some cases have been linked to poliovirus (polio) and West Nile virus, according to the CDC. "We're doing everything we can to keep the muscles healthy".

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