Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Health Care | By Belinda Paul

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

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

The case reports are from individuals younger than 18 years of age and from northern IL. The illnesses are described as having "polio-like symptoms".

State officials in Minnesota are warning doctors to be on the lookout for a polio-like illness after six children aged 10 and younger became infected within the last few weeks.

Earlier this month, six Minnesota children were diagnosed with the disease.

"Oftentimes, despite extensive lab tests, the cause of a patient's AFM is not identified", the CDC says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they have information on more than 300 cases dating back to then across the country. But those aren't the only signs: Other symptoms can include eyelid or facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech, according to the state health department. "CDC specialists will make the final determination if these cases are AFM".

Children's Hospital Colorado saw a cluster of AFM cases in 2014, which led to more research into the rare disease. "[AFM] is a virus that normally lives in our guts, but for whatever reason it has been causing upper respiratory infections".


Health officials are warning parents to be on the lookout for symptoms. "They're exactly alike. It's patchy, focal weakness, and it can occur anywhere in the body", said Dr. Acosta.

The Colorado Department of Health says it has 14 confirmed cases this year, all of whom are children who needed hospitalization.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses (neurologist) may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis. "We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly, and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care". Nationwide, 38 cases in 16 states have been reported and there is still no known cause. This is because CDC is asking doctors to be alert for patients with symptoms of AFM so that we can learn more about this condition.

The CDC3 does not advocate the use of steroids, IVig, or plasma exchange in AFM, but individuals with AFM or caregivers of children with AFM should discuss treatment recommendations with their physician. A 2016 report found there were 120 cases recorded across 34 states from August through December 2014.

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