MDHHS: Ottawa Co. child has mysterious paralyzing illness

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed a case of a mysterious paralyzing illness in an Ottawa County child.

The MDHHS says it was notified of two more cases of acute flaccid myelitis in children in Macomb and Ottawa counties, bringing Michigan's confirmed case count to four, with five additional cases being investigated.

On Dec. 5, a child from Wayne County became Michigan’s first confirmed case of AFM. A week later, a second case was confirmed involving an Oakland County child.

State health officials say all four children with AFM became sick between August and October. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed 165 cases of AFM in 36 states so far this year, mostly affecting children. While this is the highest case count in four years, the CDC says AFM remains rare, with less than 2 children in a million affected. 

AFM affects the nervous system, weakening muscles and reflexes in the body. While it’s unclear what triggers AFM, most people who get it report mild respiratory illness or fever beforehand. 

For protection, the CDC recommends people get vaccinated against poliovirus, protect themselves from mosquito bites and wash their hands frequently.----

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CDC on AFM

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