Children with confirmed cases of AFM up to 9 in Washington

Brian Zimmerman - Print  | 

A cluster of children hospitalized in Washington this fall with laboratory confirmed acute flaccid myelitis, which is characterized by polio-like symptoms, has increased from eight to nine, according to The Seattle Times.

AFM affects the spinal cord and incites limb weakness and paralysis. Many pathogens are linked to AFM, including common viruses that cause colds, sore throats and respiratory infections.

The CDC, in coordination with state and county health departments, is conducting an investigation into the AFM cluster. Health officials are interviewing the children's families and analyzing blood, sputum and stool samples to determine the cause of the condition. To date, no common factors between the children with AFM have been identified, according to Scott Lindquist, MD, Washington's state epidemiologist for communicable diseases.

"There's been no clear underlying cause of it, which has been the frustrating part," said Dr. Lindquist, according to the Seattle Times.

Health officials ruled out one potential case of AFM in a 6-year old boy who became ill and died on Oct. 31. They are currently examining one other suspected case of AFM.

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