Cute flaccid myelitis: Three new cases of rare polio-like illness emerge

6 Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease

The CDC says the number of cases appears to increase and decrease from one year to the next.

The first five possible cases affected children in King, Pierce, Lewis and Snohomish counties.

The CDC estimates that less than a million people will get AFM every year in the United States. "We have 41 cases of children who have had some sort of illness of enterovirus A71, which is causing a wide spectrum of neurological illness". There are many unknown factors at this time.

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

According to the Washington State Dept. of Public Health, "Some viruses and germs have been linked to AFM, including common germs that can cause colds and sore throats, and respiratory infections".

AFM is a serious but rare condition that affects a portion of the spinal cord, causing muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak, according to the CDC.

Basic symptoms usually add lower backache or sharp shooting sensations that shoot out down the legs or arms or around the torso, aural alterations, dotting symptoms, Difficulty moving the eyes or bending eyelids, Facial dangle or weakness, Difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech, sudden arm or leg weakness.

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"I just felt so sad for him, that this thing we didn't know about and couldn't protect him from had happened and had taken a lot away from him", Michael Young said.

The CDC says that there isn't a specific treatment for AFM, but neurological specialists might recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness.

There have been 38 confirmed cases in 16 states so far.

It resembles polio, but unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM.

In 2016, there were nine cases of AFM in Washington and three in 2017. Fortunately, the disease is extremely rare with only 100 to 150 total cases per year - none of which have been reported in the Tri-State Area.

Doctors are encouraging people to practice what are called "general prevention strategies" - including washing your hands with soap and water, getting vaccinated and preventing mosquito bites.

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