Illness that paralyzes children confirmed in Pennsylvania


A mysterious illness that partially paralyzes children has now been confirmed in Pittsburgh.

It is called Acute Flaccid Myelitis and it affects the body’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord and can cause paralysis. Although anyone can get AFM, it is more common in children.

There have been 38 confirmed cases in 16 states so far.

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed today that three children being treated at their facility are suspected of having the polio-like disease.

Some symptoms to look for would include:

facial droop/weakness,
difficulty moving the eyes,
drooping eyelids or,
difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech.
Numbness or tingling is rare in patients with AFM, though some people have pain in their arms or legs. Some patients with AFM may be unable to urinate. The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure, which happens when the muscles involved with breathing become weak. This can require urgent ventilator support (breathing machines).

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