One of 8 Washington kids with mysterious neurological illness dies

SEATTLE — Seattle Children's Hospital confirmed Monday that one of eight children in Washington with acute neurological illnesses has died.

The Washington Department of Health said the children all had a loss of strength or movement in one or more arms or legs with a range of types and severity of symptoms. Doctors say the syndrome is not contagious.

Health officials are trying to determine whether the illnesses could be an extremely rare syndrome that causes varying degrees of paralysis similar to polio.

Three of the children had been hospitalized at Seattle Children's last week, and five others have been released. One of the three who were still in the hospital has died, an official said Monday.

The syndrome, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), affects the nervous system — specifically the spinal cord — and can affect both children and adults.

The Washington cases have not been confirmed as AFM, but are being investigated as such.