Polio-Like Disease AFM Is Affecting Kids Around the Country
Polio-Like Disease AFM Is Affecting Kids Around the Country
Klobuchar Calls for CDC Investigation of Polio-Like Illness
14 October, 2018, 08:48
Muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing and facial drooping are all signs of the polio-like illness that's now showing up in hospitals. Cases have been reported in the metro, central and northeastern Minnesota. This brings the number of cases under investigation to six.
In the past, Minnesota may only see one case in a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they have information on more than 300 cases dating back to then across the country. The CDC has been monitoring the condition more closely since 2014, when there was a nationwide spike in cases.
Additionally, the CDC has found a possible link between an increase in a respiratory virus and an increase of AFM.
On Wednesday, theIllinois Department of Public Health announced it was investigating nine recent cases of AFM in patients under the age of 18, all of which are reportedly limited to "northern Illinois". The viruses that are accounted to cause AFM may be contagious from one person to another or may be spread by a mosquito or other vector depending on which virus causes the AFM. Now the downtown Chicago hospital says a second child is being treated there, but the family in the second case didn't want to be identified.
Even with extensive lab testing, AFM is hard to diagnose, because it so similar to other conditions, including poliovirus, West Nile virus and adenoviruses, the CDC reports.
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There have been no deaths in Colorado and all patients have fully recovered after being hospitalized, 9News.com reported. In 2016, Denver7 profiled Kiko Violante, a 3-year-old boy who was diagnosed with AFM.
"At this point there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases", said Dr. Scott Lindquist, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health. The condition was first described in 2014 and doctors assumed a virus was to blame, but they didn't know which one.
As of September 30, according to the CDC, 38 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 16 states.
There is no cure, and some children have long-term disabilities because of it. Others make a full recovery or close to it.
Though the CDC says it's not necessarily proven to guard against AFM, they recommend frequent hand-washing with soap and water.
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