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Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease

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The Center for Disease Control started tracking AFM in 2014 and in one study, it found about a quarter of patients had fully recovered and regained use of their muscles after one year. Instead, doctors just focus on alleviating symptoms as best they can.

Dr. Fernando Acosta Jr., a neurologist at Cook Children's, said there is no cure or treatment at this time.

Of the 38 reported cases so far this year, 14 have been in Colorado, and six are under investigation in Minnesota, NBC News reported. It affects a person's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.

We've been reporting about the polio-like illness affecting two children here in Chicago, nine in northern IL and others across the country, but how concerned should parents be about the spread to their children? According to the CDC, the largest number of cases, about 50, were reported in September 2014 before dropping to single digits in following months.

Most of the eight cases of the illness reported in Texas are in the northern part of the state.

With hope, further investigation will address this unnerving uptick in AFM cases, preventing even more little ones from suffering around the country.

The CDC says it got information on 362 cases of the illness in the USA from August 2014 through August 2018. "We'll continue to investigate and share information when we have it".

"If their child gets an enteroviral infection, they need to look for symptoms such as sudden onset of arm and leg weakness, difficulty swallowing".

Since 2015, when IL began monitoring reports of AFM in the state, four confirmed cases have been identified.

Because of AFM's possible roots in polio, doctors and medical health professionals are urging parents to stay up-to-date on their children's vaccinations.

Even with extensive lab testing, AFM is hard to diagnose, because it so similar to other conditions, including poliovirus, West Nile virus and adenoviruses, the CDC reports.

The condition is rare, with only 1 in 1 million people in the United States contracting the disease, according to the CDC. It may also be helpful to wash hands often with soap and water, the agency says. Three cases were reported in 2017, and one other case was reported in Washington since the beginning of 2018.

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