Ten suspected cases of rare nervous system disease in northern IL children

Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital

Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital

"A biennial pattern has been observed, with the majority of cases reported in 2014 and 2016, and smaller numbers reported in 2015 and 2017".

Officials at Children's Mercy Hospital said two cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, have been confirmed at the hospital.

The children are being evaluated for AFM, a rare condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. A virus, a genetic disorder, and environmental toxins can cause it.

Parents are encouraged to consult a doctor if they see symptoms of the condition, including weakness, eyelid or facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing or slurred speech, according to the state health department. However, there are other causes of AFM besides EV-D68 and severe respiratory illness is a greater concern with this virus. It's also not known who may be at a higher risk.

In 2014, 120 children were diagnosed with AFM. "Since 2015, four cases reviewed by CDC experts have been counted in IL", the IDHP stated.

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The New York State Department of Health is advising parents/guardians, other caregivers and health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68, which has now been confirmed in39 children in New York State.

So far this year, the CDC said there have been 38 confirmed cases across 16 states.

Hawaii had no verified reports from 2014 through Thursday, Koethe said. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries where wild poliovirus has been seen this year, because conflict makes it hard to vaccinate all children. Another preventative measure is protecting oneself from mosquito bites, which can carry West Nile virus, by using repellent, reducing outdoor time at dusk and dawn and removing areas of standing or stagnant water.

"That includes things like making sure their vaccines are up to date, making sure they wash their hands, avoiding unnecessary contact with individuals who are sick and just keeping surfaces around the house clean".

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