Health officials: Oklahoma child diagnosed with rare polio-like illness

Case Of Polio-Like Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed In Mass.

Case Of Polio-Like Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed In Mass.

To give parents, healthcare workers, and public health officials a look at what to expect, she said the CDC will report suspected cases this year, as well as confirmed ones.

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say it had referred a case from this summer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death", according to the CDC's website.

The number of confirmed cases reported to date is similar to levels reported in the fall of 2014 and 2016. The disease is marked by a sudden onset of weakness and loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs caused by an attack on the nervous system and spinal cord.

So far across the county, 62 cases of the rare polio-like neurological condition have been reported. More than 90 percent of the cases reported so far are people under 18 years of age. There is no specific treatment for the disorder.

No one knows how the disease is spreading, Gupta said.

While just one person in a million gets it every year, it's a growing health concern.

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"In most (AFM) cases, there appears to be what we call residual weakness, where the patient is unfortunately weak for a long period of time and may not recover or may not recover completely", said Dr. John Modlin, a Dartmouth College professor emeritus who is now the deputy director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's effort to eradicate polio.

WATCH: Six children from Minnesota have been diagnosed with a rare condition that causes weakness or even paralysis in the arms and legs.

There were outbreaks of around 100 cases, nationwide, between August and October in both 2014 and 2016. Additional symptoms include facial drooping or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech.

Other states with cases included Colorado, Illinois and Washington. The disease was first identified in 2014, but the scary part is that cases seem to be increasing. "Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases". None of the USA patients tested positive for polio, a crippling and often deadly disease which was eliminated in this country thanks to the polio vaccine.

The Douglas County Health Department's Phil Rooney said, "This is not a diagnosis like flu or other diseases where you can do blood draw fluids".

Parents are urged to have their children take basic precautions, such as washing hands and using insect spray to ward off mosquito bites.

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