Doctor warns parents after polio-like virus spreads in Ohio

State News

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN)- Doctors don’t know what is causing it or how to specifically treat it.

“Be cautious. Be aware of it. When you think there’s something wrong with a child, you want to have them seen as soon as possible,” David Roer M.D. at Pediatric Associates of Dayton told WDTN.

The polio-like illness, Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM causes drooping of the eyes or face in children. It also causes muscle weakness in the arms or legs. 

“You can actually get severe enough where it affects your breathing muscles to the point where you may need to be on a ventilator and severe enough where you may actually pass away from it,” Roer said.

While there are no confirmed cases in the Dayton area this year, a possible case has been contracted in the Cincinnati area. If confirmed, it would be the second case of AFM in the state. Ohio is one of 25 states where the virus has spread. 

Dr. Roer said the best way to prevent the disease is proper hand washing and making sure your child gets a polio vaccine. Because mosquitoes are suspected of carrying the virus, Roer said children should avoid being bitten.

“As it moves around the country, you have to be more cautious and I think parents will be more aware of it,” Roer said.

While AFM mostly shows up in children, it can sometimes be diagnosed in adults. 

The CDC continues to look into this virus to find a specific cause but they say it is still extremely rare. 

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