AFM ruled out in death of Seattle Children's patient, confirmed in 8 others

Of the nine children admitted to Seattle Children's Hospital with polio-like symptoms since mid-September, eight have been confirmed to have acute flaccid myelitis, a rare spinal cord condition that induces paralysis, facial droop, difficulty moving the eyes and slurred speech, according to a Friday release from the Washington State Department of Health. The ninth child, who died on Oct. 31, did not have AFM.

Of the eight patients with confirmed cases of AFM, five have been released from the hospital and three are currently admitted. All of the children are from five Washington counties and between the ages of three and 14.

The hospital, state health department, CDC and county health departments are currently investigating the cluster of illnesses. 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.

"At this point there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases," said Scott Lindquist, MD, infectious disease epidemiologist with the state. "If more information becomes available, we'll keep the public informed."

This year, the CDC has reported an uptick in AFM with 89 cases thus far across 33 states. In 2015, there were 21 confirmed cases of AFM total.

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