- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is calling on the federal government to look into recent cases of a rare illness after six cases were reported in Minnesota.
Muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing and facial drooping are all signs of the polio-like illness that's now showing up in hospitals. Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that AFM has infected six Minnesota children since mid-September.
Several cases have already been found in Minnesota and Iowa.
The CDC estimates that less than a million people will get AFM every year in the United States. State health officials are working with the care providers to obtain the samples and information to send to the US Centers for Disease and Prevention for testing and confirmation of the diagnoses. The CDC reviews medical information on all reported clinical cases to classify cases as AFM. Some cases have been linked to poliovirus (polio) and West Nile virus, according to the CDC. AFM or neurologic conditions like it have a variety of causes, including viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders.
Four of the five children had a fever of 100.4 or greater.
Katie Payne, the child's mother, said her faith is what's keeping them going, and said she's sharing this story to help spread the word about the illness. It says that most patients afflicted by the disease are children and that scientists have not yet determined a single pathogen detected in patients' spinal fluid that causes AFM.
"While all the patients were hospitalized, almost all have fully recovered".
"But just because you catch the virus from somebody that developed AFM, doesn't mean that you will also develop AFM", Dr. Meade explained. Individuals diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) experience different issues due to largely gray matter involvement during recovery than traditional transverse myelitis with spastic paralysis.
"Physicians are on the lookout for the more common symptoms", said Dr. Angela Sinner, of Gillette Children's Hospital.
In 2016, there were nine cases of AFM in Washington and three in 2017. "While we don't know if it is effective in preventing AFM, washing your hands often with soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other people".