6th child in Puget Sound may have nervous system disorder

What you need to know about the 'polio-like' illness popping up around the U.S

What you need to know about the 'polio-like' illness popping up around the U.S

Hawaii health officials said Thursday the state has yet to confirm a case of acute flaccid myelitis - a polio-like illness that's infected dozens of people, most frequently children, across the nation. In particular, the condition can cause weakness in the arms and legs along with loss of muscle tone and problems with reflexes.

The Washington Department of Heath says all the children are 6 or younger.

The children live in King, Pierce, Lewis, Snohomish and Skagit counties.

Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, is a rare, but potentially severe condition that has been on the rise, a recent report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevent stated.

Symptoms include facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, or difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech.

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Health officials have also yet to confirm the cause of the illness, despite testing many different specimens from patients for a wide range of pathogens that case AFM.

"The patients' symptoms have been most similar to complications of infection with certain viruses, including poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, and West Nile virus", the CDC says. "If this pattern continues, we should expect to see an increase in AFM cases in 2018". In some cases, the cause of AFM remains unknown. However, it recommends practicing disease prevention measures, including staying up-to-date on vaccines and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.

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.

The New York State Department of Health is advising parents/guardians, other caregivers and health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68, which has now been confirmed in39 children in New York State. In addition to the pair of cases at CHOP, three cases are also being treated in Pittsburgh, 6ABC reported. Most cases are in children. From mid-August 2014 to January 15, 2015, the CDC or state public health laboratories confirmed a total of 1,153 people in 49 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

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