Rare Polio-Like Illness Found In OK, CDC Says

Wednesday, October 17th 2018, 9:28 pm
By: Justin Shrair

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms a case of rare polio-like illness in Oklahoma.

This is the 62nd case of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, across 22 states, including here in Oklahoma.

Doctors say it causes weakness in the arms and legs and, while they want parents to be on the lookout, they also say this condition is very rare.

Doctor Phil Barton at St. Francis says AFM occurs about every two years.

“The most common early symptoms are a limb or extremity weakness, usually in arms, sometimes in the leg, that becomes more weak,” said Barton.

Doctors say the disease is mostly found in children under the age of 10 and, although it can be serious, they do not believe it can be transferred from one person to another and cannot be prevented.

“This is more than likely the way – someone’s genetic predisposition with their immune system response to a virus,” Barton said.

Here in Oklahoma, there was one confirmed case by the CDC in someone under the age of 18.

That person has recovered, but state officials stress that the condition has not been confirmed yet by a lab.

Doctors say they can diagnose AFM through a physical examination, an MRI, or even a spinal tap.

Although doctors say there are several treatment options, parents are still cautious.

“I don’t want that to happen to my grandsons,” said grandparent Michelle Henderson.  “It’s horrible.  I’ve already alerted all my family members.”

One parent, Robert Miller, says he is “just trying to do what we can to keep them healthy.”

Doctors say they don’t want people to panic, but just be aware.

“It’s not related to anything that a child eats, their immunization status, their generalized health,” stated Barton.  “There are no chronic illnesses that predispose them to get this.  This is very random and very rare.”

Doctors say if you think your child may have symptoms, have them checked out by a doctor.