A serious health issue that has swept across the United States may present a danger to children in Central New York.

Doctors at the Golisano Children's Hospital and Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse treated at least one child recently for a polio-like affliction called Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). The child may or may not have been from Central New York, since these medical facilities treat patients from all over the northeast region, including New York State, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

AFM springs from the Enterovirus 68, which is linked to the polio affliction, but which does not always result in AFM; sometimes it just causes a severe cold. But if AFM does result, that causes weaknesses in muscles and reflexes.

The scary part is the presence of a case in Central New York and the fact that the virus is growing rapidly in other regions of the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control there are 62 confirmed cases of AFM in 22 states.

The New York State Department of Health is doing its part by sorting through some of the data in its labs, so it can provide more information to the public.

Meantime, parents should beware of the warning signs in their children: weakness and/or loss of muscle tone in arms and legs.


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