Children in Illinois Diagnosed with Rare Illness

There has been a recent spike in cases of an uncommon virus in Illinois.


Cases of a rare virus have been becoming more common across the US in recent months. The illness is called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. All cases involve children under 18 and symptoms start the same as a common cold but can eventually lead to polio-like symptoms such as paralysis in the spine.

There have been at least 38 cases so far this year in 16 states, including Illinois;. There is no news yet on why this illness is being seen more often and researchers are still not sure what the causes of this illness are. However there are many symptoms you can watch out for.

“Some people, in addition to arm or leg weakness, will have: facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, or difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech,” the Centers for Disease Control said.

Although there is no proven treatment or prevention methods, it is important to make sure that everyone is vaccinated for poliovirus and takes regular precautions like washing hands to prevent catching a cold.

Antioch Community High School nurse Wanda Sobczak believes that until we have more research on this virus, people shouldn’t be extremely worried about it. However, caution is always advised.

“I would say that anyone who has an illness that doesn’t progress in the expected fashion should be a red flag to follow up sooner rather than later with your physician,” Sobczak said. “If you’re thinking something might be just a little bit off, it bears asking your doctor the question. They’re usually going to want to say ‘well come in and let me take a look.’”