There are no known treatments, and 38 cases have been confirmed in the USA this year.
In a separate statement, the agency said that it was "aware of several patients in Minnesota who have clinical symptoms" consistent with AFM and that it was "working closely with the Minnesota State Health Department to investigate these cases". She also requested the agency answer seven questions about its response efforts by October 16 and conduct a member-level briefing for senators seeking more information on the issue. The disease typically affects children; all the recent cases in Minnesota were in children younger than 10. "I urge the CDC to provide more information immediately about preventive measures and treatments". The CDC says little is known about what causes the disease.
Colorado has had 14 AFM cases so far this year, state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy, MD, MPH, told NBC News.
Health officials said that a single cause of AFM has not been found and often no cause is found.
On Tuesday, the health authorities said three children suspected to have AFM were being treated at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. AFM causes patients' muscles to weaken and symptoms include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs, neck weakness or stiffness, drooping eyelids or a facial droop, difficulty swallowing or slurred speech. A clinical diagnosis, which was given in the state's six new cases, involves an MRI and a scan or a tap of the spine, which detects inflammation associated with AFM. But a few still have partial paralysis and depending on which muscles are affected, children may need ventilators to help them breathe and may have to use wheelchairs.
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Kris Ehresmann with the state Health Department advises parents, "Any kind of acute muscle weakness in their kids, in arms and legs, that obviously doesn't have anything to do with spraining your ankle at soccer, that definitely they should seek medical attention".
The condition can sometimes come on as a complication after a viral infection, or after a respiratory illness.
The CDC recommends people follow normal disease prevention steps to avoid AFM, including staying current on vaccines, washing hands and avoiding mosquito bites. An additional possible case of AFM was reported out of Skagit County on Thursday.
AFM can occur as a result of a variety of germs including polio virus and non-polio enteroviruses, West Nile virus, and adenoviruses. 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.