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Rare illness that can paralyze children has been confirmed in two Iowa cases

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 62 cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been confirmed in 22 states this year.

Posted: Oct. 18, 2018 10:18 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a rare illness that can paralyze children has been confirmed in two Iowa cases and is suspected in one Nebraska case.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 62 cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been confirmed in 22 states this year.

Seventh Minnesota child contracts rare paralyzing illness

 ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A seventh child has been diagnosed with a rare, paralyzing illness that has seen an uptick in cases this year in the U.S., the Minnesota Department of Health said.

The symptoms in the latest case match those of the other children in Minnesota who have been diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, health officials said Tuesday. The polio-like illness causes limited mobility or paralysis.

U.S. health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of AFM. At least 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year and at least another 65 illnesses in those states are being investigated as possible AFM cases.

Minnesota's state epidemiologist, Jayne Griffith, said parents should watch their children for signs of the illness.

"Note if anything seems different in terms of the way they're moving or the way they may be holding an arm or a leg or maybe talking about muscle pains or aches," she said.

Dr. Mark Rupp is an infectious disease specialist for Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, and he says it's "a mysterious disease, very rare and there's a lot that we don't understand about this."

Iowa state medical director Caitlin Pedati says both Iowa patients were younger than 18 and were treated and then released from hospitals in western and central Iowa.

Health officials in Nebraska's Douglas County say they're investigating a possible case that could take up to three weeks to confirm.

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