Six children diagnosed with rare, polio-like disorder in Minneso

11 October, 2018, 02:52 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Minnesota: Acute flaccid myelitis cases investigated across state

This disease called Acute Flaccid myelitis severely affects the nervous system of the body.

Colorado has had 14 AFM cases so far this year, according to Colorado state epidemioloogist Dr. Rachel Herlihy.

The initial symptoms of AFM in children include facial drooping, limb weakness and trouble in talking and swallowing.

AFM is believed to be caused by viruses, notably the enterovirus D68.

All of the Minnesota cases have been in children younger than 10 and all were hospitalized. Viruses in the enterovirus genus - a group that includes the common cold and the polio virus - are most closely associated with AFM, though past cases have also been linked to West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, Saint Louis encephalitis, and adenoviruses.

A study of children diagnosed with AFM in Colorado in 2014 found that a lot of them were better one year later, although most also had residual weakness in their arms and legs.

The cause of AFM is still unknown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Its symptoms are likened to those caused by polio, which was eradicated in the USA thanks to the polio vaccine.

Normally when the people get affected with this disease, more than half of them don't recognize these symptoms as polio doesn't have any visible symptoms.

While there are a variety of possible causes for the disease, there is no known cure.

None of those cases are in Olmsted County, but it's still a concern across the state. Treatment and therapy can restore lost mobility over time, but a loss of the muscular function to breathe can be deadly.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help one of the patients, 7-year-old Quinton Hill. A doctor can also do an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look at a patient's brain and spinal cord, do lab tests on the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord) and may check nerve conduction (impulse sent along a nerve fiber) and response. "There's not much that can be done and as a parent that's very hard to deal with".

Health officials said that a single cause of AFM has not been found and often no cause is found. There's no vaccine against EV-D68 or EV-A71, so the same precautions apply as for any other infectious disease: people should wash their hands frequently, stay home when they are sick, cover coughs and sneezes and stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing.

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