‘Polio-Like’ Paralyzing Illness Confirmed In New England
Six children, in Minnesota, were recently diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis. AFM affects the body's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, and can cause paralysis. Unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM.
According to WMTW, the Massachusetts Department of Public Heath said Tuesday that there have been two confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, in the state and four more possible cases are being investigated.
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 on alleviating symptoms. There is no specific treatment for AFM itself.
The CDC says it's important to practice disease prevention steps: staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and preventing mosquito bites.