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Florida Confirms First Case Of Polio-Like Illness

Acute flaccid myelitis causes polio-like symptoms.
Acute flaccid myelitis causes polio-like symptoms.

Florida has confirmed its first case of acute flaccid myelitis, or "AFM"—a rare, serious illness that affects the nervous system, particularly among young children.

The symptoms of AFM look like polio: muscle weakness, facial drooping, trouble swallowing or speaking. At its worst, AFM's been linked to respiratory failure.

The Florida Department of Health hasn't released many details about the confirmed case—not the condition of the patient, their age, or location.

AFM has been increasing since 2014 but it's still pretty rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate AFM will affect fewer than one or two kids in a million.

Researchers have ruled out poliovirus as a cause, though they still haven't pinned down exactly what's triggering the new cases of AFM or how to prevent it.

Florida is asking healthcare providers to be on high alert and report any suspected cases of AFM.

You can read more about AFM, including clinical reporting guidelines, at the CDC website.

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