SEATTLE -- Three more kids from Washington state have been admitted to the hospital with an acute neurologic illness and are being evaluated for “Acute Flaccid Myelitis” or AFM.
Two of the children are from King County, one from Spokane County. They are between three and 14 years old, the same age range as the children initially admitted last month. One child was evaluated at Seattle Children's and has already been released. Another child from King County is being cared for at Mary Bridge Hospital, while the third child is still in Spokane.
This comes less than two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that eight of nine children hospitalized in October tested positive for the rare disorder known as AFM. The syndrome can cause paralysis, yet doctors have not pinpointed a cause or source. AFM itself is not contagious, but the viruses that bring it on can be.
Dr. Jim Owens of Seattle Children’s Hospital says the most important thing parents need to know is that the symptoms are not subtle, with the biggest indicator being significant weakness in the arms and legs. Because they don't know what leads to AFM, doctors can only stress the importance of personal hygiene, like washing hands and staying up to date on vaccinations.
Washington Department of Health officials have set up a webpage on the AFM investigation.