Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

8-year-old IN girl receiving treatment for rare ‘polio-like’ disease

8-year-old IN girl receiving treatment for rare ‘polio-like’ disease

"All cases are among infants and children under age six who all reportedly had symptoms of a respiratory illness in the week prior to developing symptoms of AFM", the Washington State Department of Health said in a statement Wednesday. But shortly thereafter, unusual and frightening symptoms, such as limb weakness, face drooping and difficulty talking or swallowing, set in.

The condition is rare, with only 1 in 1 million people in the United States contracting the disease, according to the CDC.

"At this point, there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases", said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health.

Symptoms may include muscle weakness in the arms, legs and neck.

Colorado has had 41 cases of enterovirus A71 infections and testing by the CDC shows most of the cases of AMF are associated with the illness.

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They took Zoe to a doctor, who performed some tests, and recommended they watch her over the weekend.

So far, experts say they can neither pinpoint the cause or a treatment for the recent cases. Environmental toxins and genetic disorders are also potentially involved in the development of the disease.

In Chicago, doctors say Julia Payne had an enterovirus that caused the AFM.

And in 2018 alone, 38 new cases of AFM in 16 states across the country were confirmed by the CDC.

In previous years, cases of AFM in Colorado and elsewhere have been positive for a different enterovirus, EV-D68.

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AFM is diagnosed by examining a patient's nervous system in combination with reviewing pictures of the spinal cord. Many people compare the disease to polio because it can cause problems that are very similar to the poliovirus.

The health department says there are no specific recommendations for avoiding AFM, but washing your hands, avoiding close contact with sick people, cleaning surfaces with disinfectants, and staying up-to-date on immunizations is recommended. You can reduce the chance of mosquito bites by using insect repellent and keeping kids indoors during times when mosquitos are prevalent.

"Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition".

If your child has any symptoms of AFM (limb weakness, facial weakness/drooping, difficulty speaking or swallowing), seek medical attention right away.

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