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Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease

11 October 2018

They had symptoms of a respiratory illness in the week before developing symptoms of AFM.

A rare disease called, acute flaccid myelitis or AFM is getting national attention after an increase in cases across the country.

Symptoms include limb weakness, facial drooping and trouble swallowing.

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There are three new cases of a rare illness with symptoms similar to polio, and the patients are being treated in Pittsburgh.

"Oftentimes, despite extensive lab tests, the cause of a patient's AFM is not identified", the CDC says.

This year alone - from January through September - there have been 38 confirmed cases in 16 different states, according to the agency.

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AFM dates back to 2014. "As AFM affects mostly children and has no known cure, it is imperative that CDC conduct an expedited investigation and response to AFM infections", Klobuchar wrote. The Minnesota Department of Health put out an alert last week, stating that six cases have been reported in children across that state over the past several weeks.

Local public health officials have been notified and are working with the hospital, state Department of Health and the CDC, county Health Department spokesman Ryan Scarpino said. All of those patients were under the age of 10 and were hospitalized around the middle of September, according to an October 5 news release. Both enterovirus A71 and enterovirus D68 are types of non-polio enterovirus. "There have been no deaths".

"At this point there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases", Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health, said.

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Most people will instead experience things like a cold, a rash, diarrhea or hand, foot and mouth disease, she explained.