According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there's been a spike in Colorado of a rare polio-like illness.
There have been 38 confirmed cases of a polio-like illness in children in 16 states across the country, including 14 cases in Colorado alone, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Called Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), the enterovirus is rare and affects one's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, and it can be caused by viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders. It is also a disease that mostly affects children, with symptoms including sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs, dizziness or wobbliness, and headaches, among others.
Enteroviruses are spread through contact with an infected person’s feces; and eye, nose, and mouth discharge (aka saliva or nasal mucus). Some people with enteroviruses have no symptoms but still can spread the virus to others. "Enteroviruses are common and can cause cold-like illnesses; hand, foot and mouth disease; and skin rashes," stated the CDPHE in a statement.
Out of the 14 cases in Colorado, 11 of them tested positive for enterovirus A17 and one for enterovirus D68, while two tested negative for any type of enterovirus.
CDPHE's Shannon Barbare said, "While the patients were hospitalized, nearly all have fully recovered. There have been no deaths."
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Others from Acute Flaccid Myelitis, as Directed by the CDC:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds -- especially after using the toilet and changing diapers.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and don’t share cups and eating utensils.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you’re sick, and keep children home from school or daycare for 24 hours after fever ends or if they are drooling uncontrollably and have mouth sores.
Stay healthy out there, Colorado!