AFM disease: Record count reported for mysterious paralyzing illness in children

Health officials are reporting the most cases ever of a mysterious paralyzing illness in children.

The condition is called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

Fortunately, the disease remains rare. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday reported 158 confirmed cases this year across 36 states, including Illinois.

The Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago said that it has seen at least 10 cases.

The nationwide count is more than the 149 reported in a similar wave of illnesses in 2016.

It's not clear what's causing some kids to lose the ability to move their face, neck, back, arms or legs. The symptoms tend to occur about a week after the children had a fever and respiratory illness.

There is no treatment for AFM, so doctors treat the symptoms and provide physical therapy. The long-term effects are unknown.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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