Health Care

IL investigating 9 ‘sporadic’ cases of polio-like illness in children

IL investigating 9 ‘sporadic’ cases of polio-like illness in children

There is no specific treatment but if children show symptoms, they need quick care - especially if there is trouble breathing, as they may need a ventilator.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said AFM, which causes weakness in the arms or legs, is still relatively rare.

Illinois Department of Health officials were investigating this week after nine "sporadic" cases of children diagnosed with a new polio-like illness were reported and confirmed within the state. It has received increased attention in recent weeks after health officials in Minnesota and Colorado saw spikes in reported cases, Illinois Public Health Department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said Wednesday. As of now there has been 10 cases of AFM reported in Northern Illinois.

"There are now two possible cases reported in 2018 that are under investigation", Brittany Fowler, a spokesperson for the Maryland health department, told NBC News. The other is an 8-year-old girl from IN, whose father said she has some paralysis and a partially-collapsed lung.

A spokeperson for the CDC said the agency did not plan to release updated numbers this week. AFM or neurologic conditions like it have a variety of causes such as viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders. For AFM to be confirmed, doctors must determine whether the spinal cord is affected.

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There have been eight people diagnosed with the illness in Texas. Last year, in 2017, there were 33 confirmed cases in 16 states. "Roughly a third of the runny noses in that two-month period around the country were from this virus and we only had 150 cases".

The Department of Health sent a notice to public health departments for distribution to healthcare providers across the state to be alert for other suspected AFM cases.

A frightening new illness is on the rise in the US, and it bears a striking resemblance to Polio.

"So while we don't know what causes AFM, its still a good reminder to do all of the things you'd usually do during cold and flu season to keep you and your family safe: things like washing your hands, avoiding contact with sick people, cleaning surfaces with disinfectant ... could be important", she said.

Other viruses have also been linked with cases, including one called EV-A71.