Medical

Rare, polio-like illness detected in Pittsburgh area

Rare, polio-like illness detected in Pittsburgh area

"It can be a very significant impact for the rest of that child's life".

"Physicians are on the lookout for the more common symptoms", said Dr. Angela Sinner, of Gillette Children's Hospital.

Symptoms include: weakness of the limbs, facial drooping and trouble swallowing or speaking. Weakness occurs because inflammation of the spinal cord disrupts the normal responses from the brain to the body, including the lungs, which can lead to breathing problems for patients.

At Gillette Hospital, they are hoping for even better results. There is now no cure for AFM and the exact cause is uncertain. There is one more case that is being looked at by the CDC that could make a fourth.

The state health department is working with the CDC to determine if these are indeed cases of AFM.

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

There have been 38 confirmed cases of AFM in 16 states so far, KDKA-TV in Pittsburg reported. Nationwide, the CDC has confirmed 362 AFM cases between August 2014 and August 2018.

Though officials have observed a rise in cases since 2014, the condition's origins remain unclear.




The rare condition can be caused by a virus, a genetic disorder and environmental toxins.

There's a new, frightening illness that's causing polio-like symptoms in children in the Midwest.

It resembles polio, but unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM. It can also be caused by poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses, mosquito-borne viruses (such as West Nile virus or Zika virus) and possibly by non-infectious conditions.

The spike in cases seems to happen every other year and always this time of year when kids head back to school.

Since Orville Young, a 4 year old in Minnesota, fell ill with a fever in July, CBS News reported, he has experienced difficulties moving his right arm - sometimes experiencing full paralysis - and was diagnosed with AFM.

While there is no cure, health experts say you should take preventative measures including washing your hands or coughing into your elbow.

AFM can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases, like transverse myelitis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.


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