Minnesota health officials on the lookout for rare nervous system disorder

Minnesota health officials on the lookout for rare nervous system disorder

Minnesota health officials on the lookout for rare nervous system disorder

That suggests 2018 could be another year in which more cases are reported, said Dr. Kevin Messacar, an infectious disease physician at Children's Hospital Colorado.

AFM affects the nervous system, specifically, the central region of the spinal cord which is filled with grey matter-a type of nerve cell.

"It can be a complication following a viral infection, but environmental and genetic factors may also contribute to its development", the health department said Friday in a press release.

MDH disease investigators are working aggressively with health care providers to gather information about the cases. "It's incredibly heartbreaking to see this". By the end of 2014, 120 people had been diagnosed in 34 states.

Most affected by AFM will experience a sudden onset of weakness or paralysis in a limb, but some may also experience drooping face and eye muscles, difficulty swallowing or difficulty moving the eyes, according to the CDC.

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This condition is not new, according to the CDC, but the agency began seeing an increase in cases four years ago, nearly all involving young children.

All six were under the age of 10 and reported weakness and paralysis in the arms and legs.

While cases have been on the rise since 2014, AFM still affects a small population - less than one in a million people in the United States annually.

Minnesota officials have not yet identified a particular virus in the six cases there. Polio is the most significant disease caused by an enterovirus.

During the 2014 national spike in AFM cases, Minnesota had three cases, and since then has averaged about one case per year.

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Since polio can sometimes lead to AFM, you can protect yourself and your children by getting vaccinated.

Some viruses and germs have been linked to AFM, including common germs that can cause colds and sore throats, and respiratory infections.

The family has felt helpless these past few weeks, dealing with a disease doctors know very little about, but thanks to other families, who are going through the same condition they are, they're now feeling better about their situation.

There is no single treatment for AFM, but a neurologist may recommend therapy. This virus is transmitted from person to person and it can have severe effects of the brain and spinal cord of the system.

The MDH urges parents and children to take basic steps to avoid illnesses, such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, keeping current with vaccinations, and protecting against mosquito bites.

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