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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there have been 38 confirmed cases of AFM so far this year - with the most cases, 14, reported in Colorado and six in Minnesota. Instead, doctors just focus on alleviating symptoms as best they can.

"We have 41 cases of children who have had some sort of illness of enterovirus A71, which is causing a wide spectrum of neurological illness", Herlihy said.

The condition targets the spinal cord area that directly affects a person's muscles.

More and more cases of a rare polio-like illness are being reported across the country, according to news reports. An additional possible case of AFM was reported out of Skagit County on Thursday.

"At this point there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases", Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health, said.

"Most of the cases [of AFM] that CDC has learned about have been in children", the CDC writes on its website. Health officials don't know how to treat it or what causes the mysterious disease other than it can start as a cold, which in some accelerate to extreme weakness.

State health officials are working with the care providers to obtain the samples and information to send to CDC for testing and confirmation of the diagnoses.

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Other AFM symptoms may include: facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, or difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech.

For Julia, doctors did a type of dialysis to clear out her blood, and she has a ventilator to help her breathe.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth has diagnosed three patients with AFM in 2018.

Although we are still learning about AFM and its causes, being up to date on all recommended vaccinations is one way to protect yourself and your family from diseases that can cause AFM. "Less than one in a million people in the United States get AFM each year", the CDC says.

The health department says there are no specific recommendations for avoiding AFM, but washing your hands, avoiding close contact with sick people, cleaning surfaces with disinfectants, and staying up-to-date on immunizations is recommended.

In 2016, there were nine cases of AFM in Washington and three in 2017.


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