Three children are receiving treatment in Pittsburgh for a rare neurological disease that can lead to paralysis, UPMC officials confirmed Tuesday. Usually, the state sees zero to one AFM cases a year.
"The patients are now undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatment", said Andrea Kunicky, a spokeswoman for UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where the children are being treated. Its origins are a mystery, but officials say a virus can cause some cases. All the recent Minnesota cases have been in children younger than 10, and all were hospitalized. "It's very polio-like in presentation", infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. It can impair muscle reflexes and cause weakness in arms and legs. Potential causes can be viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC said.
The disease typically affects children. Symptoms include weakness in the arms or legs, drooping facial muscles, and difficulty moving the eyes. Some people may be unable to urinate, and, in severe cases, a person can suffer respiratory failure and must be put on a ventilator.
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.
Again, this is a rare condition.
The CDC reported 362 total cases from August 2014 to August 2018 with a major rise in cases reported in 2016 across 39 states. They recommend as prevention regular hand-washing and avoiding mosquito bites.
Although acute flaccid myelitis is terrifying, Adalja says parents should not stay awake at night worrying about it. "This is a very rare condition", he stresses.