PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Three cases of a mysterious illness that partially paralyzes children and is likened to polio have now been confirmed in Pittsburgh. It is called Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, and it affects the body’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, and can cause paralysis.
There have been 38 confirmed cases in 16 states so far. Now it’s in Pittsburgh.
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed Tuesday afternoon that three children being treated at their facility are suspected of having the polio-like disease.
Children’s Hospital has released this statement:
“UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is taking care of three children with suspected Acute Flaccid Myelitis. The patients are currently undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatments. Isolation protocols and infection control procedures are in place and we are working with the CDC and the Allegheny County Health Department to further monitor and evaluate the patient conditions.”It resembles polio, but unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM. What causes it is unknown, possibly a virus, but doctors just don’t know.
“There’s a sudden onset of weakness in the arm, leg, face, or the muscles that help us swallow and that we use to speak,” says Dr. Amaran Moodley from the Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.
Symptoms include: weakness of the limbs, facial drooping and trouble swallowing or speaking. Treatment mainly boils down to alleviating those symptoms.
AFM dates back to 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they have information on more than 300 cases dating back to then across the country.