Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease

Of the 38 reported cases so far this year, 14 have been in Colorado, and six are under investigation in Minnesota, NBC News reported.

A little girl diagnosed with the illness has been in the hospital since September 5th. Her parents told the Chicago Tribune that symptoms at first were on par with those of a common cold.

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh confirmed Tuesday afternoon that three children being treated at their facility are suspected of having the polio-like disease. The patients are now undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatments. Its origins are a mystery, but officials say a virus can cause some cases.

The CDC states that AFM targets the spinal cord, which can lead to weakness in the muscles. "It's very polio-like in presentation", infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. AFM can cause a range of types and severity of symptoms, but the commonality among them is a loss of strength or movement in one or more arms or legs.

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Symptoms include limb weakness, facial drooping and trouble swallowing. Some people with AFM may be unable to urinate.

There is no treatment for this disease. "It nearly has to run its course and then you see where it settles out", he adds.

"The CDC has acknowledged that 362 cases of AFM have been reported since 2014, indicating an increasing infection rate", Klobuchar wrote in the letter.

The Health Department says there are no specific recommendations for avoiding AFM, but recommends washing your hands with soap and water, avoiding close contact with sick people, cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant, and staying up-to-date on recommended immunizations.

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