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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CBS News) — The Minnesota Department of Health has issued an advisory to doctors after six children were diagnosed with a rare disorder that affects the spinal cord.
According to health officials, since Sept. 20, six pediatric cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been reported to the health department.
On average, the Minnesota Department of Health sees only about one case per year.
The children affected suffer single or multi-limb weakness. All the children have been hospitalized with two patients experiencing “rapid ascending weakness requiring ICU management for respiratory support.”
Health officials say AFM is a rare condition that affects the spinal cord, which results in muscle and nerve weakness.
Health experts say the disease can lead to paralysis and even death.
Most affected by the disorder have a sudden onset of arm or leg weakness, as well as a loss of muscle tone and reflexes to the affected limb.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help one of the patients, 7-year-old Quinton Hill.
Since 2014, more than 360 cases of AFM have been reported in the U.S. There’s still a lot doctors don’t know about it, and there aren’t specific treatments available.
Avoiding germs could help lower the risk of getting the disease, including washing your hands or staying up-to-date on vaccinations.