Minnesota kids diagnosed with rare, polio-like disease

On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced there have been a total of six reports of pediatric acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) since September 20.

"The patients are now undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatment", said Andrea Kunicky, a spokeswoman for UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where the children are being treated.

"UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is taking care of three children with suspected Acute Flaccid Myelitis". The patients are now undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatments.

Local public health officials have been notified and are working with the hospital, state Department of Health and the CDC, county Health Department spokesman Ryan Scarpino said.

It resembles polio, but unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM. AFM causes patients' muscles to weaken and symptoms include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs, neck weakness or stiffness, drooping eyelids or a facial droop, difficulty swallowing or slurred speech.

"I just felt so sad for him, that this thing we didn't know about and couldn't protect him from had happened and had taken a lot away from him", Michael Young said. Treatment mainly boils down to alleviating those symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they have information on more than 300 cases dating back to then across the country.