First 2018 case of polio-like illness AFM confirmed in Florida

December 24, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WKMG) -- After a record number of reported cases in the U.S. this year, the Florida Department of Health has confirmed the presence of a case of the polio-like disease acute flaccid myelitis, known as AFM, in Florida.

The disease is a rare condition that can cause weakness or loss of use of a limb. According to experts, AFM most frequently affects children between the ages of 2 and 6. There's no specific, proven treatment or vaccine.

While the disease can appear after a viral infection, the condition has no single clear cause. FDOH officials said the latest surge in cases this year has no clear origin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website states that 165 cases of AFM have been confirmed in the U.S. in 2018. In a news release, FDOH officials said the illness has been confirmed in Florida in both 2014 and 2016.

While not linked to polio, AFM affects its victims in similar ways. FDOH officials said that in addition to limb weakness, symptoms of the disease could include facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes and difficulty swallowing.

FDOH officials are asking anyone suspects someone is AFM to report it to their county's health department. The CDC is actively investigating the disease.

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