6th child in Puget Sound may have nervous system disorder

Phillip Cunningham
October 16, 2018

"There are now two possible cases reported in 2018 that are under investigation", said the Maryland health department's Brittany Fowler.

Acute flaccid myelitis is a rare condition that affects a person's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, according to the CDC.

The Washington Department of Heath says all the children are 6 or younger. One of them is 5-year-old Elizabeth Storrie, who is now recovering from AFM at Cook Children's Hospital in north Texas. The children are residents of King County (2), Pierce County (1), Lewis County (1), and Snohomish County (1).

All told, 16 states have confirmed a total of 38 cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 2018.

The CDC began tracking the cases in 2014 after seeing an uptick in the number of cases. Symptoms typically include sudden weakness in one or more arms or legs, along with loss of muscle tone and decreased or absent reflexes.

Being up to date on polio vaccinations is one way to protect yourself and your family from AFM, says the CDC.

At this point there isnt evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health. Lurie Children's Hospital has treated at least two of the children diagnosed with AFM, but it had not received any additional AFM patients as of Friday. Were working closely with medical providers and public health agencies.

The disease is not new but the cause remains unknown.

The New York State Department of Health has confirmed 39 children have the virus (EV-D68) in New York State.

"The outbreak in 2014, of the tests we did that year, about a third of them with a certain virus that we think was causing that outbreak", he said. In 2017 there were three cases, and since the beginning of 2018 there has been one case in the state.

AFM has been reported in 26 states in the US, with a total of 85 cases and climbing.

Most of the reported AMF cases continue to occur in children.

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