Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington report cases of polio-like illness called AFM

6 Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease

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The Washington Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm if the children have AFM.

"Some children have persisting swallowing problems so they're still dealing with the complications of using a feeding tube".

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis.

The rare, poorly understood, polio-like illness is thought to attack the body's nervous system - specifically, the spinal cord - and can cause paralysis.

Two cases were reported in King County.

There have been 38 confirmed cases in 16 states so far.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, an epidemiologist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, told Fox News most of 2018's confirmed Colorado cases happened in mid- to late August and September. "We're working closely with medical providers and public health agencies".

"The CDC has acknowledged that 362 cases of AFM have been reported since 2014, indicating an increasing infection rate". Other symptoms include facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech, the CDC says. "We'll continue to investigate and share information when we have it".

How many children have been diagnosed with AFM? . There isn't a vaccine that could prevent AFM and there isn't a vaccine that causes the condition, medical experts said. Health officials don't know how to treat it or what causes the mysterious disease other than it can start as a cold, which in some accelerate to extreme weakness.

Doctors now don't know a lot about how AFM spreads. A 2-year-old girl was recently diagnosed in the Chicago area, and UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed that three children are now being treated for AFM at their facility. It can also be caused by poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses, mosquito-borne viruses (such as West Nile virus or Zika virus) and possibly by non-infectious conditions. Fewer than 1 in 1 million people will contract AFM, even when these new numbers are taken into account. 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.

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

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