Spokane boy diagnosed with mysterious polio-like illness AFM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed another case of a mysterious polio-like illness Washington.

According to the Spokane Regional Health District, a boy under the age of 10 in Spokane County has been diagnosed with Acute flaccid myelitis.

“We wish we had specific recommendations for families who are concerned about this devastating syndrome, but there is not enough known about its causes,” said Dr. Sam Artzis, SRHD interim health officer. “Some children with AFM recover, but unfortunately many do not. Obviously our hearts are with this family.”

In Washington, the CDC had already confirmed eight cases of AFM, which has affected children between the ages of 3 and 14, a syndrome that attacks the nervous system and can lead to muscle weakness and even paralysis.

Symptoms of AFM can vary, from minor muscle weakness to paralysis like teen Hayden Werdal of Bremerton experienced when he contracted AFM two years ago.

Doctors say AFM comes after contracting a virus, so the only advice about prevention they can give is to do the things you would to prevent the spread of a typical virus, so washing of hands and staying away from those who might be coughing or sneezing.

They say the reason it’s difficult to trace AFM is because by the time these patients come into the hospital with symptoms of AFM, the virus that likely triggered it is out of their system.