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'Polio-like' illness sickens kids in Minnesota

Six children in Minnesota have been diagnosed with AFM, acute flaccid myelitis, a rare "polio-like" disease.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 7:52 AM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 8:57 AM

Six children in Minnesota have been diagnosed with a rare "polio-like" disease since mid-September, state health officials said.

Acute flaccid myelitis, known as AFM, affects the body's nervous system -- specifically, the spinal cord -- and can cause paralysis. Unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM.

Minnesota typically sees less than one case a year, the state Department of Health reported. The disease typically affects children; all the recent cases in Minnesota were in children younger than 10.

AFM can develop from a viral infection, although its exact cause is unknown. Symptoms include limb weakness, facial drooping and trouble swallowing or talking. Doctors stress the importance of recognizing the early signs of AFM and seeking care as soon as possible.

Treatment focuses only on alleviating symptoms.

AFM cases first spiked in the United States in August 2014. By the end of that year, 120 people had been diagnosed in 34 states.

The increase coincided with a national outbreak of severe respiratory illness caused by enterovirus D68. From August 2014 through August 2018, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received information on 362 cases of AFM across the United States.

The CDC says it's important to practice disease prevention steps: staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and preventing mosquito bites.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1279811

Reported Deaths: 41587
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens1600187889
Kings1568738092
Suffolk1298042624
Nassau1160652581
Bronx1069555302
Westchester857231819
New York765463456
Erie524731390
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Dutchess16963322
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Niagara12229248
Broome11255260
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Schenectady8770128
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Rensselaer6965106
Putnam657675
Chautauqua566064
Chemung5643108
Oswego496169
Ontario477082
Steuben4632131
Cayuga447471
Sullivan388749
Wayne372254
Genesee3689100
St. Lawrence368563
Herkimer368259
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Jefferson327224
Madison317376
Livingston273742
Tompkins270724
Cortland266854
Columbia252472
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Warren211942
Greene207860
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Otsego173823
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Lewis154024
Seneca123946
Franklin11649
Delaware102923
Essex98819
Schoharie9145
Yates83519
Schuyler72410
Hamilton1471
Unassigned53122
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