Minnesota health officials on the lookout for rare nervous system disorder

Minnesota health officials on the lookout for rare nervous system disorder

Health officials say AFM is a rare condition that affects the spinal cord, which results in muscle and nerve weakness.

The Minnesota Department of Health recently announced six AFM cases have been classified in its state and were reported in children under 10 years old, living in the Twin Cities, central Minnesota and northeastern Minnesota.

While fewer than 1 in a million people in the USA are diagnosed with AFM each year, the CDC is concerned about the recurrent outbreaks, especially given the mysterious nature of the illness. Health officials are collecting information about the cases from health providers and are in contact with the CDC, the MDH said. She also requested the agency answer seven questions about its response efforts by October 16 and conduct a member-level briefing for senators seeking more information on the issue.

Between August 2014 and August 2018, the CDC received information on 362 cases of AFM nationwide. Disease investigators believe this was linked to an outbreak of a respiratory illness in children that was caused by a virus known as enterovirus D68 (EVD68).

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed on Tuesday evening that three children suspected of having acute flaccid myelitis are being treated. Then, cases spiked again to 149 in 2016.

Ehresman says it's unknown what causes A-F-M but people should observe good hygiene and be sure vaccinations are up-to-date.

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Indeed, there has been an uptick in cases of AFM across the country. And at the end of 2104, total numbers of people affected from AFM were 120 in 34 states. It can often infect people with mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Experts aren't sure what is causing the increase, but they know the numbers started to go up about four years ago in 2014.

Symptoms can include sudden arm or leg weakness, a loss of reflexes, facial droopiness or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, or slurred speech, the CDC says.

Quinton Hill is one of six cases of AFM in Minnesota reported since September 20.

Messacar said it's important is for parents to seek immediate medical help if their child shows symptoms of weakness in the muscles of the face or throat.

After several tests, doctors were only able to find a diagnosis after a second MRI, finding abnormality throughout his entire spinal cord. So, just be sure to practice smart prevention measures such as getting vaccinated, washing your hands and avoiding bug bites.

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