Five Washington children hospitalized with sudden paralysis

AFM is a weakening of the nerves that causes partial paralysis in children.

"The CDC has acknowledged that 362 cases of AFM have been reported since 2014, indicating an increasing infection rate", Klobuchar wrote in the letter.

The children, who are all under the age of 6, all reportedly had symptoms of a respiratory illness in the week prior to developing symptoms of AFM. These symptoms are remarkably similar to polio or the West Nile Virus.

AFM typically affects young children and creates polio-like symptoms. "They may have facial weakness, facial drooping, unable to speak, trouble swallowing", said Dr. Marcelo Malakooti.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there have been a confirmed 38 cases across 16 states in 2018 so far.

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Minnesota has noticed a spike in suspected AFM cases in recent weeks.

"In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death", according to the CDC. In Washington state, the Department of Health is investigating at least five cases this year that have sent kids to the hospital. All of those patients were under the age of 10 and were hospitalized around the middle of September, according to an October 5 news release. A few require ventilators to breathe, NBC News reported.

"We've been vigilant", Sanford Health Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Clifford Mauriello said. "We don't want people to be afraid but we want people to quickly if you see acute limb weakness", said DeBolt.

The condition has been linked to viruses, including one called EV-A71, a common cause of hand, foot and mouth disease.

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