Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Medical | By

Klobuchar asks CDC to investigate cases of rare, polio-like illness

Klobuchar asks CDC to investigate cases of rare, polio-like illness

"The patients are now undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatment", the hospital said in a statement to Pittsburgh's Channel 11. "The CDC has been asking us to pay attention to this for quite a while".

According to the Washington Department of Health, the children are being evaluated for acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare condition that affects a person's nervous system and can cause paralysis. The Minnesota cases have been diagnosed since September 20, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, which says officials are working "aggressively" with health care providers to try to gather more information about the cases. "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. Symptoms can include facial muscle weakness, seen as droopiness; issues moving the eyes or droopy eyelids; issues swallowing; or slurred speech. AFM can cause a range of types and severity of symptoms, but the commonality among them is a loss of strength or movement in one or more arms or legs.

AFM has a variety of causes, the CDC said, including genetic disorders, viruses and environmental toxins. Some people with AFM may be unable to urinate. By the end of that year, 120 people had been diagnosed in 34 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. These symptoms are remarkably similar to polio or the West Nile Virus.

The agency recommends staying up-to-date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites as ways to prevent the disease.

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