Rare Polio-Like Condition Suspected In Ingham County Man

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The condition is especially common in children, the other three cases of this rare disease in MI were found in children according to health officials. Although infectious diseases that target the motor nerves and spinal cord can, in theory, affect anyone, Kassam said AFM has a particular "predilection" for children.

The CDC first identified AFM cases in the U.S.in 2014. In 2014, a wave of cases of acute flaccid myelitis coincided with outbreaks of EV-D68 across the country.But the CDC says it has not consistently found EV-D68 in confirmed cases since then.

The classic presentation is sudden or rapid onset of weakness of the arms, legs, or facial muscles.

"I hope not. We will be keeping an eye on this". The CDC does not fully understand long-term consequences or why some patients recover quickly while others continue to experience paralysis and weakness.

Dr. John Christenson is a professor of clinical pediatrics at Riley's Children's Health in Indianapolis.

The CDC has still not figured out what causes AFM, or who is most at risk of contracting the condition.

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"It [AFM] seems to be post secondary to viruses that we generally see", Dr. Carlson explained. It is already required for a number of diseases, including West Nile virus and influenza, but not for AFM. While most viral infections are mild and self-limited, some people are more seriously affected, either because of environmental factors, genetic susceptibility, or just plain bad luck.

While they have yet to confirm a source for the paralysis-inducing illness, doctors believe that all signs point to a virus. "Everybody should have a flu shot", said Christenson.

"Yes it is rare, but it is happening more than the numbers say", Young said.

Nationwide, a total of 155 cases are being investigated.

Sutfin says parents should protect their children against mosquito bites, and make sure they are up to date on their vaccines, as well as encourage frequent handwashing. "And, if your children develop weakness in their arms or their legs, especially if they've had a cold, take them to their doctor immediately".

This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.

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