Two Mass. children contracted rare muscle-weakness syndrome this year, officials say

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The suspected case in Douglas County is still under investigation and confirmation of the diagnosis could take up the three weeks.

The MDH says the case is now being reviewed, and did not provide information regarding where in the state this particular case was diagnosed, or whether or not the child is in the hospital.

While the cause of AFM is not clear, experts say it can occur as a result of a variety of viral illnesses including the polio virus, enteroviruses, West Nile virus, and adenoviruses. Other symptoms may include trouble moving the eyes, drooping eyelids or facial droop and weakness.

Doctors tell us the illness mostly affects children and can cause paralysis.

At least 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year, and at least 65 additional illnesses in those states are being investigated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another kind of virus is suspected, but it's been found in only some of the cases.

USA health officials have issued a warning about a rare condition which attacks the nervous system and spinal cord after 62 new cases of the little-known disease were confirmed across 22 states.

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. You may ask, what good am I doing by telling you about this illness if, as of yet, we do not know how it is contracted, or if it even has a cure.

There were outbreaks of around 100 cases, nationwide, between August and October in both 2014 and 2016.

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The symptoms are very similar to polio, or poliomyelitis, an infectious disease caused by a virus.

As of yet, there is no known effective treatment for the condition, but the vast majority of patients do recover with treatment.

Benjamin Greenberg, a neurologist who has treated children with AFM at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, said AFM is "exquisitely rare".

Rarely, people with AFM can suffer respiratory failure and require ventilator support when their breathing muscles become too weak.

Parents have reported that the limbs of affected children appear lifeless.

The mysterious polio-like disorder that's striking children around the country is growing, according to an update from federal health officials Tuesday.

The disease is extremely rare, with the CDC estimating that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year. But, if their child is diagnosed, parents should prepare for extensive physical therapy - therapy that isn't always covered by insurance, he said. So far, it's been reported in 22 states.

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