Two cases of polio-like illness confirmed in Wisconsin

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Two cases of the disease - acute flaccid myelitis - have been confirmed in MA with another four cases under investigation.

Health officials in Oklahoma say an Oklahoma child has been diagnosed with a polio-like illness that is sweeping the country.

Boston Children's Hospital has evaluated all of the confirmed and suspected AFM cases that occurred in MA this year.

So far across the county, 62 cases of the rare polio-like neurological condition have been reported.

The average age of the patients in all confirmed cases over the past five years is just 4 years old, and more than 90% of the cases overall occur in children 18 and younger, according to analysis of cases reported in recent years. Fewer than one in a million get the disease.

Last year, one child died of the disease.


In addition to viruses, potential causes may include environmental toxins and genetic disorders, according to the CDC, and it "can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases". The CDC said AFM is still very much a mystery, but it's working to solve it.

"A doctor can examine a patient's nervous system and the places on the body where he or she has weakness, poor muscle tone, and decreased reflexes".

The cause for the rare condition is still unclear.

Since officials have been unable so far to determine how the disease spreads, they are starting to count suspected cases as well as confirmed to better anticipate increases over the coming months.

Many local cases have been treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The CDC's surveillance shows an increase in AFM cases beginning this August, as well.

At least 65 other illnesses around the US were being investigated as possible cases. None of the US patients tested positive for polio, a crippling and often deadly disease which was eliminated in this country thanks to the polio vaccine.


"We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care", Messonnier said, noting how most have a "sudden onset of weakness".

Other possible cases are still under investigation.

After testing patients' stool specimens, the CDC determined poliovirus is not the cause of the AFM cases.

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". Symptoms include muscle weakness, droopy eyelids, problems swallowing, and slurred speech.

The CDC is actively investigating and monitoring disease activity and recommends taking standard prevention measures such as hand-washing, protecting oneself from mosquito bites and staying up-to-date on vaccinations.


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