Health department: Mysterious illness confirmed in 4 Ohio children

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State health officials say four cases of a rare, mysterious illness that can paralyze children have been confirmed in Ohio amid a jump in such cases nationally.

The Ohio Department of Health said Friday it has notified health care providers to be alert for and to report suspected cases of the neurological condition called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. It’s characterized by sudden, asymmetric weakness in the arms or legs. The cause is unknown.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 62 cases across 22 states this year, compared with 33 cases last year, and is investigating dozens more reports. Most of the confirmed cases nationally, including all those in Ohio, involve children.

Ohio’s reported cases occurred in Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Mercer and Pickaway counties in August and September.

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