Five kids hospitalized with rare sudden limb paralysis

Three other cases were reported in Pierce, Lewis, and Snohomish counties.

Symptoms of the rare disease include weakness and loss of muscle tone, facial droop or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes and difficulty swallowing and slurred speech. This follows an unusual rise this year in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in several states.

"The CDC has acknowledged that 362 cases of AFM have been reported since 2014, indicating an increasing infection rate".

The Washington Department of Heath said Wednesday that the children are 6 or younger.

"Oftentimes, despite extensive lab tests, the cause of a patient's AFM is not identified", the CDC says.

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"At this point there isn't evidence that would point to a single source of illness among these cases", Dr. Scott Lindquist, state infectious disease epidemiologist at the Department of Health, said. Between January 1 to September 30, 2018, 38 people in 16 states have been confirmed to have AFM. All but one happened around October.

The cause is unclear. If parents notice it, they are urged to take their children to the hospital to get checked out immediately.

Debolt says a number of other factors could cause limb weakness instead of AFM, so it's important to seek medical care. "She hasn't done that since she was a baby", said mother Katy Payne.

"It's not something that's going to make me lose sleep at night, I think there's stuff happening to kids all the time, so just be aware and pay attention", said Wells.

AFM is a rare but serious condition that has been compared with polio because it, too, can lead to paralysis and, in some cases, death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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