On Sunday, 6-year-old Daniel Ramirez, died of AFM, the polio-like illness we wrote about in late September. Daniel’s parents, Marijo De Guzman and Jose Ramirez, first took him to the hospital because he had cold symptoms and was feeling dizzy but within hours he was paralyzed and never recovered.
Our hearts are breaking for his family.
There are other cases currently being investigated by state officials; two have been confirmed and seven are still being evaluated. Five of the children have been treated at hospitals and released, while three remain hospitalized at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Just like polio, AFM is highly infectious, strikes suddenly, and primarily strikes children. It affects the body’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, and can cause lifelong paralysis but other symptoms include limb weakness, facial drooping and difficulty swallowing and talking. There is currently no vaccine (note – the most common cause of AFM … is polio!).
From the article:
“AFM cases first spiked in August 2014. By the end of that year, 120 people had been diagnosed in 34 states. In 2015, 21 people were diagnosed in 16 states.
The exact cause of the illness is unknown, though scientists think it is most likely the result of a viral infection. Other potential culprits include environmental toxins, genetic disorders, and Guillain-Barré syndrome, according to the CDC. AFM itself is not contagious.”
(We know that Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) can be caused by vaccines which is on the warning label. We also agree environmental toxins could be a big part of this. It’s also been linked to West Nile virus and in particular, Japanese encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis. At this time they haven’t linked it to the dreaded Zika virus, though.)
In 2014 when the initial cases of AFM were reported, many doctors believed it was linked to an outbreak of enterovirus D68 (a respiratory virus) because the majority of children had a fever and a respiratory illness and within five days would develop pain in the arms and legs (weakness followed as well).
However, as the article says:
“It’s important to understand that there’s a wide spectrum of severity of this disease,” Messacar said. On one end, you see mild weakness in one extremity, he said. On the other, you’ve got children who have lost the ability to breathe on their own and exhibit complete paralysis in their arms and legs.
Patel and Messacar agree: There are no known proven, effective therapies. Both doctors stress the importance of recognizing the early signs of AFM and seeking care as soon as possible.”
We will continue to monitor AFM and update you with any additional information we get.