Klobuchar asks CDC to investigate cases of rare, polio-like illness

Desiree Burns
October 10, 2018

There have been dozens of cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in the USA this year, including three at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.

CBS 11 News reached out to Cook Children's for more information, but so far the hospital has only confirmed three cases of AFM and that they're looking at a suspected fourth case.

State health officials are telling doctors to be on the lookout for a rare disorder that causes paralysis after six Minnesota children were diagnosed with the disease in recent weeks. The Minnesota cases have been diagnosed since September 20, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, which says officials are working "aggressively" with health care providers to try to gather more information about the cases.

The CDC states that AFM targets the spinal cord, which can lead to weakness in the muscles.

Symptoms of the disease include weakness in the arms or legs, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech and facial drooping. "As AFM affects mostly children and has no known cure, it is imperative that CDC conduct an expedited investigation and response to AFM infections".

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Acute flaccid myelitis is thought to happen after someone contracts a virus, like a poliovirus, West Nile virus, or adenovirus, the CDC says.

There is no treatment for this disease.

The CDC reported 362 total cases from August 2014 to August 2018 with a major rise in cases reported in 2016 across 39 states.

A 2-year-old girl from Batavia is facing a long, hard recovery after contracting a rare polio-like disease that has been reported in children across the United States. It may also be helpful to wash hands often with soap and water, the agency says. "This is a very rare condition", he stresses.

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