Health Care

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

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

State and local health officials on Thursday said they are investigating a possible sixth case of a rare nervous system disorder that causes sudden limb paralysis in children. In some rare instances, the virus can cause acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a serious condition that causes weakness in the arms or legs.

The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak. The children are residents of King County (2), Pierce County (1), Lewis County (1), and Snohomish County (1).

AMF is not a new condition, but the increase in cases starting in 2014 is not normal, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Since the CDC began studying AFM in 2014, there have been 362 documented cases, with 38 of them occurring this year.

Health officials will never have a firm count of cases of AFM because not all states require doctors to report them.

The puzzling condition, known as Acute Flaccid Myelitis, causes partial paralysis in children and bears a striking resemblance to polio. The CDC has a list of tests that need to be done to confirm a case of AFM, but doctors ultimately need to check the spinal cord to be sure.

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At this point there isnt evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health. "All but one of the Texas cases are children".

"The patients' symptoms have been most similar to complications of infection with certain viruses, including poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, and West Nile virus", the CDC says. Were working closely with medical providers and public health agencies.

OR hasn't had any cases of AFM this year. "If this pattern continues, we should expect to see an increase in AFM cases in 2018". It affects mostly children, according to the CDC.

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Two children in IL have been diagnosed with a rare Polio-like illness that is seeing a sudden uptick, mainly in kids, across the US.


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