SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (KWQC) - UPDATE: 10-12-18 Illinois health officials say there are now 10 clinically diagnosed cases of AFM. All the patients are children living in northern Illinois.
A rare, and mysterious illness that has been affecting children with polio-like paralysis is now being reported in Illinois and Iowa.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wed. Oct. 10, 2018 it has received nine reports of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) from health care providers.
Health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the diagnosis,
The cases involve children under 18 years old who are all from northern Illinois. The CDC will make the final determination on diagnoses and the numbers are subject to change.
Meanwhile, CNN reports parents of a boy in Grimes in central Iowa say their 3-year-old son has been diagnosed with the disease after cold symptoms last summer turned into partial paralysis in his limbs.
AFM is a serious, but uncommon condition. It affects the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. The cause is not clear.
Symptoms can include:
• sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes
• facial droop/weakness
• difficulty moving the eyes
• drooping eyelids
• difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech
Health officials say being up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations, including poliovirus, is one way to protect yourself and your family from diseases that can cause AFM.
You can also protect yourself from mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile virus—another possible cause of AFM.
Other steps to protect yourself include:
• washing your hands often with soap and water
• avoiding close contact with sick people
• cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant
For more information on acute flaccid myelitis, visit https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/