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Minnesota Children Diagnosed With Rare 'Polio-Like' Illness

11 October 2018

The Minnesota Department of Health sees, on average, about one case per year. "Isolation protocols and infection control procedures are in place and we're working with the CDC and the Allegheny County Health Department to further monitor and evaluate the patient conditions". Possible causes may include viruses, such as the poliovirus, West Nile virus, and adenoviruses, as well as environmental toxins or genetic factors.

Messacar said it's important is for parents to seek immediate medical help if their child shows symptoms of weakness in the muscles of the face or throat.

In her letter, Ms. Klobuchar asked Dr. Redfield to accelerate the CDC's response and investigation of the spike in AFM cases. Symptoms include onset leg or arm weakness, loss of muscle tone and reflexes, facial droop, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids or difficulty swallowing or slurred speech. Instead, doctors just focus on alleviating symptoms as best they can. 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.

Between August 2014 and August 2018, the CDC received information on a total of 362 confirmed cases of AFM nationwide. "Collecting information about suspected AFM cases is relatively new, and it is voluntary for most states to send this information to CDC".

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Up through September of this year, 38 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 16 states, according to the CDC, and 362 people have contracted AFM since August 2014.

Minnesota saw three AFM cases that year. 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. They should also prevent from mosquito bites.

Again, this is a rare condition. It can often infect people with mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all. Fewer than 1 in 1 million people will contract AFM, even when these new numbers are taken into account. 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.

Minnesota Children Diagnosed With Rare 'Polio-Like' Illness