In Minnesota, six kids were diagnosed to have a polio-like disease or acute flaccid myelitis as reported by the Minnesota Department of Health.
Those children complained of having muscle weakness in their arms and legs. They also reported of a weak neck and facial drooping, as well as slurred speech.
Acute flaccid myelitis typically occurs after having a respiratory disease. Because of its severity, it can be a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, none of those kids died of this condition.
One of the kids stated that he had bad neck stiffness causing him to have difficulty moving his neck and left arm. His parents thought that it was only a dead arm. However, they started to worry when the kid could not move his arm for a couple of hours.
Six cases have been reported since September. It is a complication after a viral infection. Then again, the health department stated that genetic and environment could also contribute to this disease.
Recovery can vary. Some kids who got severely unwell will continue to experience residual neurologic deficient.
Each year, the state reported one or fewer cases of a polio-like disease. But in 2014, there was an increase in this case in the US that coincided with the huge outbreak of enterovirus D68.
The said enterovirus could cause a runny nose, body aches, and coughing. It is true that the US reported several cases per year. But it was different in 2014 when there was an outbreak that affected thousands of people in 49 states.
One of the causes of acute flaccid myelitis is EV-D68. However, it is not the only causative agent. In some cases, adenovirus and other germs could begin it. Even West Nile virus that is spread by mosquito bites could cause this condition.
Not all kids who suffered from it did not have a viral infection before getting sick.
Why Polio-Like Disease?
One of the reasons acute flaccid myelitis is also called polio-like is that it could cause paralysis. However, it is not a highly contagious infection. That is, the spread of this disease is not person-to-person contact. Rather, it happens in certain people right after having a viral infection.
Unfortunately, it does not have any vaccine, unlike polio.
To prevent this infection from further spreading, you need to wash your hands frequently. When coughing, you must cover your mouth. And if you are sick, just stay home. You must also protect yourself against mosquito bites. Most of all, you must have vaccines.
If, after a viral infection you develop some weakness in your body, you must seek medical care immediately. Although it is rare that the paralysis will involve your muscles that might affect your breathing, it does happen. For that reason, it is vital to have your condition checked. It is especially true if you have paralysis or weakness in your arms or legs.
Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for this polio-like disease. As the affected kids are getting their strength back, they are trying to live a life without using their arms.