Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis confirmed in Wisconsin and Minnesota

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The disease affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health said they are following the condition very closely and heeding warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has received more than 120 reports of patients under investigation for the illness this year and confirmed at least 62 cases.

While AFM is not unique to the US, Messonnier said, "no one else has seen seasonal clustering every other year".

Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of infectious disease and immunology at Wolfson, said in a statement that the child, who was not identified, was admitted to the hospital with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).

They also know that all six children developed the disease around the same time.

She's referring to the 386 cases of AFM the CDC has confirmed in US patients between August 2014 and September 2018.

Despite the recent spike in reported cases of AFM, Messonnier underscored that the disease is "incredibly rare" and has been diagnosed annually at a rate of less than one in a million since 2014. Figures show that the average age of an AFM patient is four. And though enteroviruses have been detected in some paralysis cases, it hasn't been found in others, CDC officials say.

Messonnier said some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly while others continue to struggle with paralysis.

"This is actually a pretty dramatic disease", Messonnier went on.

In addition to the sudden onset of muscle weakness, the state public health department said slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty moving the eyes can also be experienced by patients.

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In a few cases, it appears that the illnesses were linked to viruses, including enterovirus. There have been cases each year since, but the numbers have been higher on alternate years.

Minnesota's state epidemiologist, Jayne Griffith, said parents should watch their children for signs of the illness.

Less than one in one million people in the USA get AFM each year, but the cases are spiking over the last few weeks.

Most cases of weakness and paralysis have been in children.

Benson said she's hopeful there won't be a lot more cases in MA since the season is likely coming to a close.

Health officials said five kids in Maryland are believed to have contracted a virus this fall that has symptoms similar to polio.

There is also no official cause which means no definite form of treatment, something Roanoke mother Brittany Hoff knows too well after she said her son was diagnosed.

After testing patients' stool specimens, the CDC determined poliovirus is not the cause of the AFM cases.

Messonnier stressed that while she understands how frightening this situation is for parents, they should remember that the infections are, in fact, rare.

She encouraged parents to wash their children's hands, use insect repellents and update vaccinations. It causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak or even paralyzed.

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