The Washington State Department of Health and four local public health agencies are looking into six reports of a polio-like illness in five Washington counties.
According to an Oct. 11 Department of Health press release, all six cases are among infants and children under 6 years old who had recently experienced respiratory illness prior to showing symptoms. Four of the children had experienced a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The children experiencing symptoms are residents of King, Pierce, Lewis and Snohomish Counties.
AFM, acute flaccid myelitis, is a rare condition affecting the nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. Symptoms typically include the rapid onset of weakness in one or more arms, along with loss of muscle tone and decreased or absent reflexes.
While AFM itself is rare, some common viruses and germs which can cause colds and sore throats have been associated with AFM. Department of Health officials advise taking preventative measures like frequently washing hands, avoiding contact with those who are sick, disinfecting surfaces and staying up-to-date on immunizations.