Ohio -- Cases of a rare, but serious disease were found in our state, mostly in young children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Acute Flaccid Myelitis affects the nervous system and can weaken a person's muscles to the point of paralysis.
The Ohio Department of Health told Spectrum News 1 that there have been seven confirmed cases of AFM this year. Two of those cases were found this month. Of the seven affected by the virus, six are male and one is female. All seven are under the age of 13.
- The disease often mimics polio.
- Researchers are unsure of an exact cause.
- No vaccine is available to treat it.
“Right now we don't have any immunization,” Jan Schwab, MD, PhD said.
Schwab is a neurological expert at The Ohio State University.
“The immunization would be the best prevention,” he said. “So far, it's kind of a new version of a virus and so we need to make or prevent spreading (and that) would require immunization and so far we don't have this immunization agent and this is quite hard too because children play together.”
The cases were found in Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lucas, Mercer, Pickaway and Warren counties.
While AFM is a serious disease, Schwab said you should not panic. The CDC estimates that one to two in one million children will get AFM every year.