Polio-like disease on the rise in Minnesota

IL now reports nine cases of a rare polio-like illness that has popped up in several states It's called Acute Flaccid Myelitis. What causes it is unknown, possibly a virus, but doctors just don't know.

"In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death", according to the CDC.

Symptoms of AFM include limb weakness, facial drooping and trouble swallowing or talking. "Now you're finding cases in Canada, you're finding cases where people are looking hard for children with this basically, paralysis-like illness". Instead, people who are diagnosed with it are given "aggressive supportive care", Adalja says.

In the past, Minnesota may only see one case in a year.

With cases on the rise, parents like Wells say she'll keep those symptoms in mind.

Previously, only four cases had been reported in IL since 2015.

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

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The cases are from individuals younger than 18 years of age and from northern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday.

"These are all children under five", said Chas DeBolt, a senior epidemiologist for vaccine-preventable disease at the Department of Health.

Separate from these five cases of illness, there has been one other case of AFM in Washington this year and there were three cases identified in 2017, according to the health department.

The CDC must review case information to confirm the cases under observation in Pittsburgh, a process which could take a few weeks, Scarpino said.

Herlihy the best prevention is frequent hand-washing and keeping kids home when they are sick.

Six is the highest number of cases Minnesota has ever seen.

AFM could be triggered by a variety of causes, including common cold viruses, poliovirus (for which children should be vaccinated), and West Nile virus (which is carried by mosquitoes and can be prevented by using insect repellant). The CDC says the condition is not new but there's been an increase in cases starting in 2014. One hundred forty-nine cases were reported in 39 states in 2016 and 22 cases in 17 states in 2015.

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