More 'polio-like' illnesses reported in Pennsylvania, Illinois

Henrietta Brewer
October 13, 2018

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses (neurologist) may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis. There, after more tests, she was diagnosed with a probable case of AFM. It wasn't for two-year-old Maipele Burns, whose AFM attack caused her to lose all function in her right arm.

"As AFM affects mostly children and has no known cure, it is imperative that CDC conduct an expedited investigation and response to AFM infections", Ms. Klobuchar wrote in the letter.

- The number of cases of a rare polio-like virus are growing across the United States and six of those cases have been reported in Minnesota.

Experts aren't sure what is causing the increase, but they know the numbers started to go up about four years ago in 2014.


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

More than 30 cases of AFM have been reported in 16 states since September. These states include California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Its origins are a mystery, but officials say a virus can cause some cases.

According to the CDC, other viruses like poliovirus and West Nile may sometimes lead to AFM.

The illness causes a weakening of the nerves and resembles polio. "Among the people confirmed with AFM, CDC did not consistently detect EV-D68 in every patient".


There is no vaccine for AFM or a vaccine for enterovirus, a virus doctors know is associated with AFM. It may also be helpful to wash hands often with soap and water, the agency says. You can reduce the chance of mosquito bites by using insect repellent and keeping kids indoors during times when mosquitos are prevalent.

All six cases required hospitalization and prompted health officials to encourage parents to closely monitor their children for symptoms. The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure, which can require patients to be put on ventilators.

What are the symptoms of AFM?


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