According to health officials, since September 20, six pediatric cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been reported to the health department. Symptoms can include sudden arm and leg weakness, drooping eyelids, facial weakness, difficulty moving the eyes and slurred speech/difficulty swallowing. The Minnesota cases have all involved kids 10 years old or younger, health officials said.
To help lower the risk of getting the rare condition, experts recommend protecting yourself from any bacterial virus by washing your hands often with soap and water, staying up to date with vaccinations to prevent Poliovirus and prevent West Nile Disease by avoiding mosquito bites. Between 2014 and 2018, the CDC received reports of more than 360 cases. In 2014, August, AFM first hit the US.
While fewer than 1 in a million people in the US are diagnosed with AFM each year, the CDC is concerned about the recurrent outbreaks, especially given the mysterious nature of the illness.
Up through September of this year, 38 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 16 states, according to the CDC, and 362 people have contracted AFM since August 2014. Polio is the most significant disease caused by an enterovirus.
7-year-old Quentin Hill is one of six kids diagnosed with the illness in Minnesota.
Some viruses and germs have been linked to AFM, including common germs that can cause colds and sore throats, and respiratory infections.
"There is obviously a lot of concern about it, but it is rare", Griffith said.
Minnesota officials have not yet identified a particular virus in the six cases there.
How is it prevented and treated? The CDC3 does not advocate the use of steroids, IVig, or plasma exchange in AFM, but individuals with AFM or caregivers of children with AFM should discuss treatment recommendations with their physician. In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death. And there are other diseases that mimic the symptoms, such as West Nile virus and Guillain Barre syndrome. Dr. Acosta said there is no cure or treatment at this time. "Since we don't see a clear association with all of our cases with a particular virus or pathogen, the best we can do right now is to make sure you are doing everything you can".