North Texas Children Among Those With Rare Polio-Like Illness

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At least two cases of a polio-like illness have been reported in Southeast Texas this year.

He said symptoms are just like the symptoms of Polio. But shortly thereafter, odd and frightening symptoms, such as limb weakness, face drooping and difficulty talking or swallowing, set in. It can impair muscle reflexes and cause weakness in arms and legs.

It's called Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, and doctors say it can start out as a cold but can eventually cause paralysis.

The Washington Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm if the children have AFM.

He is advising parents to take their children to the emergency room if they notice any focal weakness. It is believed that AFM can be contagious, and for this reason, isolation protocols are in place for patients who are confirmed to have the neurological illness. From August 2014 through August 2018, the CDC has been notified of 362 cases of the illness, mostly in children.

Indeed, there has been an uptick in cases of AFM across the country.

The cases involve infants and children under the age of six who all reportedly had symptoms of a respiratory illness in the week prior to developing symptoms of AFM.

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For the first nine months of this year, 38 people in 16 states have been confirmed to have AFM.

Shannon Barbare, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, told Fox News Tuesday there have been 14 confirmed cases of AFM in the state so far this year - though it's unclear if all of those cases were included in the CDC's latest report. An additional possible case of AFM was reported out of Skagit County on Thursday. The Minnesota cases have been diagnosed since September 20, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, which says officials are working "aggressively" with health care providers to try to gather more information about the cases. The causes of AFM vary from viruses to environmental toxins to genetic disorders, according to the health department.

Much is still unknown about AFM and often, a cause for AFM can not be identified.

It resembles polio, but unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM.

"You can protect yourself and your children from poliovirus by getting vaccinated", the CDC advises.

There is no known cure for AFM but doctors can provide supportive care to patients.

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