At least one person has been confirmed to have an illness called AFM in Travis County, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
"Not because it's happening more it's just that we're recognizing it more", Dr. Esper says. The sixth case was announced Thursday, in Skagit County.
The Center for Disease Control started tracking AFM in 2014 and in one study, it found about a quarter of patients had fully recovered and regained use of their muscles after one year.
Reports surfaced on Wednesday that two Chicago-area children are being treated at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago for the illness - including 2-year-old Julia Payne, who has been fighting the illness for almost a month.
AFM typically affects young children and creates polio-like symptoms. Until then, doctors are treating the cases as if they are AFM. Officials said most of the cases are associated with a strain of enterovirus.
While there is no cure for the virus, neurologists can recommend treatments. "So, we've seen that there's an association between viruses, specifically enterovirus, in the past. That enterovirus is transmittable from person to person, but you can't actually catch AFM from somebody else".
The CDC reported 362 total cases from August 2014 to August 2018 with a major rise in cases reported in 2016 across 39 states. In 2017 there were three cases, and since the beginning of 2018 there has been one case in the state.
"If their child gets an enteroviral infection, they need to look for symptoms such as sudden onset of arm and leg weakness, difficulty swallowing".
While the Department of Health said there are no specific recommendations for avoiding AFM, people can take steps to reduce their risks from some known causes with frequent and thorough hand-washing, avoiding close contact with sick people, and cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant, especially those that a sick person has touched. In very rare cases, it is possible the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death.