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

Ebony Scott
October 16, 2018

CDC did not name the states, but health officials in Colorado said they had 14 cases in 2018 and officials in Minnesota confirmed six.

The condition, called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM, appears to be caused by a viral infection, but health officials have been unable to link cases with any single specific virus.

The Washington Department of Heath says all the children are 6 or younger.

While the illness has been seen mostly in children, there are some adult cases reported as well, with the Michigan Department of Public Health's Lynn Sutfin pointing to one in the state. The children are residents of King County (2), Pierce County (1), Lewis County (1), and Snohomish County (1).

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AFM is a condition that affects the nervous system and causes muscle weakness, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since the CDC began studying AFM in 2014, there have been 362 documented cases, with 38 of them occurring this year. However, there are other causes of AFM besides EV-D68 and severe respiratory illness is a greater concern with this virus.

Symptoms include facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, or difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech. Were working closely with medical providers and public health agencies. It's possible that AFM has a variety of causes, including viruses (such as poliovirus and enteroviruses), environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC says. Well continue to investigate and share information when we have it.

The CDC says that both the cause and long-term effects of the disease remain unknown. However, it recommends practicing disease prevention measures, including staying up-to-date on vaccines and protecting yourself from mosquito bites. "All but one of the Texas cases are children". Most of these illnesses have been in children. "We haven't completed our own investigations yet to confirm it's AFM so we haven't reported to the CDC", said Sherri Davidson, Alabama's state epidemiologist.

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