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Jacksonville Child Diagnosed With Rare Condition, Symptoms Similar to Polio

4:16 PM, Oct 18, 2018

A children’s hospital in Jacksonville confirmed the first case in Florida of a disease that looks like polio. Well, it has many of the same symptoms.

Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville posted a picture of a 3-year-old who is diagnosed with something called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM.

Jacksonville Child Diagnosed With Rare Condition, Symptoms Similar to Polio

AFM affects the nervous system, specifically the spine. It causes muscles to become weak.

“We suspect that this can be transmitted just like any other virus, through mucus membranes,” Stephanie Stovall with Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida said. “Either through hand contact or even spread through the air. There’s no way at this point to pinpoint it.”

Eventually, we see people lose the ability to walk.

“It is a clinical syndrome where a patient presents typically with the acute onset of limpness usually in an extremity, though it can affect other parts of the body as well including difficulty breathing,” Stovall said.

Polio has practically been wiped out worldwide. Dr. Jonas Ask invented the vaccine to stop polio in 1955. Then came the vaccine in a sugar cane in 1961.

The CDC said over the last four years, there have only been 386 cases. There are currently 328 million people living in the America, making this extremely rare. But that doesn’t make it any less scary, and it mostly seems to show only in kids.

“Try to avoid people who are sick, wash your hands, wash your kid’s hands and be sure they aren’t drinking after other people and knowingly exposing themselves to germs that are out there,” Stovall said.

These are the symptoms the CDC says to watch out for:

  • Droopy face
  • Difficulty moving eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech

If you see these symptoms, get to a doctor.


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