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Colorado, Illinois, Washington Report Cases Of Polio-Like Illness In Children

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
10/15/18  10:01 AM PST
Illness In Children

Colorado, Illinois, Washington Report Cases Of Polio-Like Illness In Children – By Debra Goldschmidt, CNN

(CNN) The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating nine recent cases of acute flaccid myelitis, also called AFM, according to a statement Wednesday.

All of the cases are in patients younger than 18 and have been clinically diagnosed by health care providers, the statement said. 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 will make the final determination on diagnoses and numbers are subject to change,” the statement said.
All of the patients are “from northern Illinois,” according to the health department, but no other location information was provided.

Since 2015, when Illinois began monitoring reports of AFM in the state, four confirmed cases have been identified.
AFM is a polio-like illness that affects a person’s nervous system, including the spinal cord. Symptoms can include sudden limb weakness, loss of muscle tone and reflexes, facial and eyelid drooping, facial weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, swallowing difficulty or slurred speech, according to the CDC.
The rare condition can be caused by a virus, a genetic disorder and environmental toxins.
Health officials in Washington state are investigating five possible cases in patients from four different counties. “All cases are among infants and children under age six who all reportedly had symptoms of a respiratory illness in the week prior to developing symptoms of AFM,” the Washington State Department of Health said in a statement Wednesday. The children were all hospitalized after experiencing “sudden onset of paralysis of one or more limbs.”

The state health department is working with the CDC to determine if these are indeed cases of AFM.
Separate from these five cases of illness, there has been one other case of AFM in Washington this year and there were three cases identified in 2017, according to the health department.