Lowcountry doctors prepared after polio-like illness reported at MUSC

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - More than 60 cases of a rare polio-like disease have been confirmed across the country affecting mostly kids.

One of those diagnoses was reported in Charleston at MUSC.

Some doctors are saying that parents shouldn’t panic but should know what to look for.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis is a virus with polio-like symptoms and has had a recent spike in confirmed diagnosis’ all over the country.

One Trident Medical Center doctor says AFM is a regularly occurring virus, but the reported numbers are much higher than usual.

He says the first step to protecting your child is knowing what symptoms to look for.

“Unfortunately, there’s very little known what’s causing it. So it’s hard to say which population will be affected, anyone who has symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or paralysis, should be checked,” Dr. Kenneth Perry, the assistant facility medical director at Trident, says.

Perry says that the virus usually appears after the child has already had another virus.

“What we are seeing happens often as an after effect of other viruses, so they might have nausea vomiting fevers, and then soon thereafter they will have symptoms like this polio-like event,” Perry says.

According to Perry, researchers are also considering other theories of why the confirmed cases has spiked to such high numbers in recent months.

“We’ve seen such a spike in people not immunizing their children, so there’s concern from the medical field that viruses are coming in due to unvaccinated children,” Perry says.

The virus can attack several parts of the body including the diaphragm causing inability to breath and shortness of breath.

Perry says that in the worst cases, death is possible due to not being able to breath.

The child diagnosed with AFM at MUSC was treated and released.

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