9 Illinois Children Diagnosed With Polio-Like Condition That Causes Partial Paralysis

Acute Flaccid Myelitis primarily impacts children, and can be transmitted via mosquitoes

A disease that causes partial paralysis in children and closely resembles polio has impacted nine people in the state of Illinois, the Department of Health confirmed Wednesday.

According to a press release, nine individuals, all from northern Illinois and all under the age of 18, have been diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), and are part of a growing number of cases being reported across the country.

AFM is a puzzling condition that causes partial paralysis in children. It is on the uptick in parts of the U.S., with six cases under investigation in Minnesota and 14 reported in Colorado, health officials said this week.

It was first widely recognized in 2014, when 120 children were diagnosed, NBC News reported.

So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been 38 confirmed cases of the polio-like condition across 16 states.

Symptoms of the disease can include a sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes, as well as:

  • Facial droop/weakness
  • Difficulty moving the eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech

Various viruses can cause AFM, including West Nile virus and enteroviruses. The disease can be transmitted via mosquitoes, the DPH says.

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