Cases of the “polio-like” illness acute flaccid myelitis are surfacing among more children across the U.S., with reports of the condition that can lead to paralysis and death coming in from several states over the last few days.
There have been 38 confirmed cases of AFM in 16 states so far, KDKA-TV in Pittsburg reported.
On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced it was investigating nine recent cases of AFM in patients under the age of 18, all of which are reportedly limited to “northern Illinois.”
Since 2015, the department had seen four cases of AFM, and the recent spike has officials working closely with health care providers to collect information to send to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment revealed that it had seen 14 cases of AFM this year in wake of an outbreak of viral infections.
It is believed that AFM can arise from a viral infection, although environmental and genetic factors could also cause the illness to develop.
Colorado has had 41 cases of enterovirus A71 infections and testing by the CDC shows most of the cases of AMF are associated with the illness.
Three cases have been confirmed in Pittsburgh and five cases are suspected in western Washington state where children are in the hospital with paralysis in arms and legs.
Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that six children under 10 had been diagnosed AFM since mid-September.
All six cases required hospitalization and prompted health officials to encourage parents to closely monitor their children for symptoms.
The CDC has recorded 362 official cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the U.S. between August 2014 through August 2018. A 2016 report found there were 120 cases recorded across 34 states from August through December 2014.
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