HEALTH ALERT: Polio-like illness hits Georgia


A mysterious disease is shocking researchers across the country. The CDC says its a serious condition that causes paralysis in the arms and legs of young children.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis or β€˜AFM’ is very similar to Polio which causes paralysis.

But that was eradicated in the 70’s. The disease has both doctors and parents worried about the little ones.

The illness is spreading like wildfire across the country. So far the CDC says there are 62 confirmed cases in 22 states. Georgia has 3. In the last 4 years, the CDC says there have been 386 confirmed cases of AFM. 

“It starts off as a common cold but then what comes on very quickly is paralysis the inability to use the arms and legs. It can start off like tingling but eventually becomes paralysis,” Ben Spitalnick, M.D. says. 

Spitalnick is a pediatrician in Savannah. He says there aren’t any cases in the Coastal Empire he says they’re trying to do what they can to spread the word.

β€œThere is no treatment for AFM, the treatment is to treat the symptoms which basically, unfortunately, means supportive care, physical therapy to help children start using their arms and legs again but even that’s a very slow process,” he said. 

The average age of those affected is just 4-years-old. Although there is no treatment there are some possible causes.

“There are a lot of theories they have possibly implicated West Nile virus, possibly enterovirus, possibly adenovirus, possibly viruses that are pretty common among kids,” Spitalnick says. 

Doctors are urging parents to monitor their child’s health while doctors are trying to finding a solution.

“It’s very rare it’s less than one in a million…”if you are concerned about any symptoms your child has whether it be this or anything else go see your doctor. go see your pediatrician,” Dr. Spitalnick says. 

The CDC, as well as doctors and researchers, are monitoring this disease and increasing awareness.

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