Article Health Parenting

Parents Need to Be Aware of a Rare Polio-Like Illness That Causes Paralysis In Children

A rare polio-like disease is on the rise across the country. The disease affects the central nervous system and causes cold-like symptoms. It’s fast becoming a growing health concern.

The medical name for the disease is called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM.  It affects the area of the spinal cord called gray matter and can cause paralysis. Most of its patients are 18 years old and younger, the average age is four years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), AFM could be genetic, viral or environmental. Possible causes are the West Nile virus (WNV) or adenoviruses.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for AFM.  The disease is rare and still an overall mystery to doctors. However, AFM could be detected by examining a patient’s nervous system.

“There’s no treatment. What the treatment is often rehab and a lot of times they recover the muscle strength. The scariest cases are when the diaphragm muscle that controls your breathing becomes paralyzed,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.