There appears to be a case of a mysterious disease affecting children across the country in Douglas County. Douglas County Health Department officials released a statement about the report of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, a Polio-like virus.
We have a suspected case of AFM being investigated in a young child. Imaging as well as clinical observation is needed to confirm a diagnosis and may take up to three weeks. AFM is extremely rare but can be extremely serious. All the cases in the United States have tested negative for polio. Basic hand washing which helps to prevent any number of infections is recommended at this time.
More than half of all American states have reported possible cases of the illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 62 cases of AFM so far this year, with over 100 cases that are currently being investigated as well. More than 90% of the cases involved children eighteen or younger, with an average age of just four years old.
AFM can cause sudden limb weakness, loss of muscle tone and reflexes, difficulty in moving the eyes and problems with swallowing and breathing. Viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders may be potential causes of the illness.