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Concern is growing over mysterious outbreaks of a rare polio-like condition in children.

The Washington State Department of Health is investigating reports of six children who have been hospitalized after a sudden onset of paralysis of one or more limbs.

Majority of those affected are children under the age of 10, and there is no clear cause behind its spread since 2014, the CDC reported.

AFM is a polio-like illness that affects a person's nervous system, including the spinal cord.

AFM "can be a complication following a viral infection, but environmental and genetic factors may also contribute to its development", the Minnesota Department of Health said. "A person's arms and legs can become weak or paralyzed depending on the area of the spinal cord that is inflamed". While AFM doesn't have a cure, the symptoms can be treated and in most cases death can be avoided. This condition is not new, but the increase in cases we saw starting in 2014 is new.

During the 2014 national spike in AFM cases, Minnesota had three cases, and since then has averaged about one case per year.


Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is an exceptional but deliberate neurologic disease of immediate outbreak, usually in children. There isn't a vaccine that could prevent AFM and there isn't a vaccine that causes the condition, medical experts said.

Shannon Barbare, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, told Fox News Tuesday there have been 14 confirmed cases of AFM in the state so far this year - though it's unclear if all of those cases were included in the CDC's latest report.

Health investigators are trying to figure out how some Minnesota children contracted a rare illness with polio-like symptoms. CDC has been actively investigating these AFM cases, and we continue to receive information about suspected AFM cases. "She went in for an X-ray and she couldn't hold her head up by herself anymore, which was very odd". Some people may be unable to urinate, and, in severe cases, a person can suffer respiratory failure and need to be put on a ventilator.

In Chicago, doctors say Julia Payne had an enterovirus that caused the AFM.

You can protect against bites from mosquitoes, which can carry West Nile virus, by using mosquito repellent, staying indoors at dusk and dawn (when bites are more common), and removing standing or stagnant water near your home (where mosquitoes can breed). There are no specific treatments for AFM, so doctors may decide on certain treatments on a case-by-case basis.

We appreciate the CDC's ongoing work to address AFM.


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