39 kids in NY have had virus linked to polio-like illness

University Hospitals 2 patients suspected of having potentially fatal infectious disease

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Illinois Department of Health officials were investigating this week after nine "sporadic" cases of children diagnosed with a new polio-like illness were reported and confirmed within the state.

The condition is called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, which attacks the nervous system, particularly the spinal cord, and can lead to arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle reflexes.

While officials said the cases occurred in northern IL, more specific locations were not publicly available. It is most commonly diagnosed in children. Among them is two-year-old Julia Payne, whose symptoms started off resembling those of a common cold.

Possible causes of AFM include viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some cases, the cause of AFM remains unknown. Since then, at least 362 cases have been reported across the country, according to the federal agency.

So far this year, the CDC said there have been 38 confirmed cases across 16 states. Recently, Minnesota state officials also put out an alert after receiving reports of six recent AFM cases involving children.

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