3 more children hospitalized with suspected AFM in Washington

Three additional children with polio-like symptoms have been hospitalized in Washington. If the children are confirmed to have acute flaccid myelitis, it will bring the total number of cases reported in the state this fall to 11, according to The Seattle Times.

Of the new cases, one was hospitalized at Seattle Children's Hospital and has since been released. Another child was admitted to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma and remains hospitalized. The third new case of suspected AFM was detected in a child in Spokane County. The child is currently hospitalized in the county, though the Seattle Times did not specify the hospital. The eight children with previously confirmed AFM were hospitalized at Seattle Children's Hospital, six have been released and two remain under care at the hospital. All cases, suspected and confirmed, have been reported in children ages 3 to 14.

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The CDC, in coordination with state and county health departments, is currently conducting an investigation into the AFM cases. Test results from the children have been sent to the CDC for confirmation.

Previously, a child admitted to Seattle Children's with suspected AFM died. It was later determined the child did not have the rare neurological condition. The child died of severe brain swelling and inflammation after an illness with fever.

AFM is a rare spinal cord condition. It is characterized by paralysis, facial droop and slurred speech. Many pathogens are linked to AFM, including common viruses that cause colds, sore throats and respiratory infections. The condition can also be caused by poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses and mosquito-borne viruses like West Nile and Zika.

A common link to AFM among the cluster in Washington has not been detected.

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