Rare 'Polio-Like' Illness Diagnosed in 6 Minnesota Kids

Six Minnesota children diagnosed with rare polio-like disease

Six Minnesota children diagnosed with rare polio-like disease

"Of the AFM cases, 11 tested positive for enterovirus A71, one tested positive for enterovirus D68, and two tested negative for enteroviruses", the department said in an online statement Tuesday. The department has issued a health alert. This disease called Acute Flaccid myelitis severely affects the nervous system of the body.

Symptoms of AFM are comparable to polio, including numbness of the limbs, facial drooping and slurred speech.

It is believed that AFM can arise from a viral infection, although environmental and genetic factors could also cause the illness to develop.

However, 11 of the Colorado cases of AFM have tested positive for EV A71, a rare type of enterovirus not usually seen in the USA but instead in Asia and other parts of the world, according to Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the Colorado state epidemiologist.

"We know that enteroviruses, especially EV-A71, have been associated with acute flaccid myelitis", Herlihy told NBC News.

She referred to these 11 cases as an outbreak within an outbreak.

All six cases required hospitalization and prompted health officials to encourage parents to closely monitor their children for symptoms. Some people may be unable to urinate, and, in severe cases, a person can suffer respiratory failure and must be put on a ventilator.

Other states have also reported cases.

The Department of Health is developing a web page to keep the public and media updated.

The outcomes for those afflicted are varied, she said, with some patients recovering fully and others dealing with some level of paralysis for the rest of their lives. Since then, more than 350 cases of the illness have been reported in the US over a four-year period. The child was hospitalized for five days and given intensive outpatient physical therapy, according to the report.

AFM is common in children, and the MDH said that all of the Minnesota cases involve kids under 10 years old.

This condition is not new, according to the CDC, but the agency began seeing an increase in cases four years ago, nearly all involving young children. "CDC specialists will make the final determination if these cases are AFM". The Minnesota Department of Health sees, on average, about one case per year.

Treatment focuses only on alleviating symptoms.

Three children at UPMC Children's Hospital are suspected of having AFM, while 38 others in 16 states have been diagnosed recently. We have not confirmed the cause for the majority of these cases.

It also does not include the cases in Minnesota or IL, as they are not confirmed.

The disease is not new, but there was an uptick in cases starting in 2014, the CDC says.

An outbreak of a mysterious disease in Minnesota that doctors say resembles polio has left children partially paralyzed and health experts baffled. There were 33 in 2017 and 149 in 2016.

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