What is Acute Flaccid Myelitis? What Parents Need to Know

12 October, 2018, 11:24 | Author: Bruce West
  • Rare illness leaves 3-year-old boy paralyzed

This disease affects the nervous system, specifically the area of a person's spinal cord called gray matter, according to the CDC. The recent cases in Minnesota-which were reported from the Twin cities, central Minnesota and northeastern Minnesota-involved children under 10 years of age, all of whom were hospitalized.

AFM "can be a complication following a viral infection, but environmental and genetic factors may also contribute to its development", the Minnesota Department of Health said. She also requested the agency answer seven questions about its response efforts by October 16 and conduct a member-level briefing for senators seeking more information on the issue. All of the cases have been reported on the west side of the state with two children in King County and one child in Pierce County, Lewis County and Snohomish County. "I urge the CDC to provide more information immediately about preventive measures and treatments". Healthcare providers still don't know the full specifics of the disease and have not found any specific treatment that might be able to avoid the disease overall. Three cases were reported in 2017, and one other case was reported in Washington since the beginning of 2018.

On Monday, news broke that six children in Minnesota have been infected with the rare disease that causes lowered mobility or paralysis in the arms and legs. Dr. Meade said sometimes people recover from the paralysis, but others don't recover even after several years. To date, no pathogen (germ) has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid; a pathogen detected in the spinal fluid would be good evidence to indicate the cause of AFM since this condition affects the spinal cord. Symptoms include limb weakness, facial drooping and trouble swallowing or talking.

This is an usually high number of patients, as the state has "typically seen less than one case a year" since the national uptick started in 2014, the release states. These symptoms are similar to polio or the West Nile Virus.

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Nearly any viral infection can cause neurological symptoms, although it's extremely unusual, so the CDC says it is also important to be fully up to date on vaccinations.

Doctors WARN parents to seek immediate medical attention for their children if they see any signs in their child of exhibiting the symptoms of AFM. The severe form the disease can cause neurologic symptoms, including encephalitis and AFM.

Both EV-D68 and EV-A71 are enteroviruses, and they are in the same family of viruses as polio.

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