Canadian Kids Threatened By Rare Cases of Polio-like Paralysis – Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) Symptoms

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a mysterious disease in children keeps on surging. In 22 U.S. states, this illness that is similar to polio has made 60 children ill in the recent weeks. Toronto doctors have stated that the cases also started to show up in Canada.

The fall already comes with challenges like any cold season, and now the little-known illness called acute flaccid myelitis creeps in on Canada’s young population.

Dr. Jeremy Friedman, associate pediatrician-in-chief at the Hospital for Sick Children, stated that since September, they had seen an increase in patients suffering from symptoms that “are typical of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and increases of similar cases have been reported by many other North American pediatric centers.”

The “acute flaccid myelitis,” or AFM disease is rare and on the rise, and the flu season could make it easier to contact.

In 2018, the United States has had 127 cases, compared to the 33 cases in 2017, which is concerning, added the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Before 2014, the condition wasn’t even being researched.

The people that are more at risk for AFM are children under 18% – because the CDC found 90% of the cases in children 18 and younger, added Dr. Friedman:

“I can’t provide specific patient information but I can tell you that AFP typically affects patients under the age of 15.”

AFM Symptoms and Recovery

The CDC has posted this graphic with the symptoms of AFM.

The disease will affect the nervous system and can paralyze the patient that gets an infection – acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). Recovering from the disease is difficult, and while some recover completely, others can suffer life-long injuries.

AFM will start feeling like a cold or the flu, and come with serious muscle weakness. It has symptoms like drooping eyelids, and difficulty in talking or swallowing.

According to the CDC, neither the polio virus nor the West Nile virus have caused this disease. They are investigating other causes, including toxins from the environment. The patients affected by this disease might have been genetically susceptible to it, causing them to develop AFM when they would be exposed to a virus or a toxin.

Even though cases only showed children being affected by this disease, adults should be cautious during the flu season and make sure we’re protected.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere