No one knows the cause of the rare disease called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). The Minnesota Department of Health says that it's "a rare but potentially severe condition that can arise following an infection, and in some cases, it can lead to death, paralysis or other long-term health impacts." 

On Tuesday WCCO reported that the 7th case in a child in Minnesota this year has been reported by the MDH. The MDH said in a news release that all Minnesota cases have occurred since mid-September and each has been in children 10 or younger.

The disease seems to spike every other year. It happened in 2014, 2016 and now 2018 they're seeing a spike again. So far this year there have been at least 62 cases in the US in 22 different states.

If someone gets AFM it starts with a fever and respiratory illness for the first week or so. After that symptoms include "neck weakness or stiffness, drooping eyelids or a facial droop, and difficulty swallowing or slurred speech."

The MDH says that "if parents see potential symptoms of AFM in their child, (for example, if he or she is not using an arm) they should contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible."

The CDC is currently investigating these cases of AFM to try and determine where it comes from.

The MDH says the following about avoiding this disease:

Since AFM can develop as a result of a viral infection, MDH recommends parents and children take basic steps to avoid infections and stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands frequently to limit your exposure to germs.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations.
  • Protect yourself and children from mosquito bites if you’re spending time outside.

 

Sources:

Bring Me the News

WCCO

Minnesota Department of Health

 

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