Case of polio-like illness probed in Mich.

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Michigan health officials are investigating a suspected case of a rare illness affecting the nervous system with polio-like systems that is emerging across the country.

The case of acute flaccid myelitis was reported for an adult male in the state’s central lower region, and testing is ongoing, said Bob Wheaton, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Monday.

“If it were to be confirmed, we would consult with the (Centers for Disease Control) on possible actions,” he told The Detroit News. “Because poliovirus sometimes leads to AFM, a poliovirus vaccine can prevent it. Washing your hands with soap and covering your coughs are good preventive measures."

The CDC estimates less than 1 in a million people in the United States get AFM each year.

AFM affects a person’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, and can have various causes, such as viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, center officials said. Symptoms are similar to complications of infection with certain viruses, including poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses and West Nile virus.

The state Health Department said the enterovirus EV-D68 typically causes a runny nose and body aches, and only rarely leads to AFM.

The CDC reports 38 confirmed cases of AFM in 16 states so far this year. There were 33 in the same number of states last year, and 149 in 39 states in 2016, according to the CDC. Overall, the center has received information on 362 confirmed cases since August 2014.

Health officials in 26 states told NBC News they are investigating or have reported 87 cases of AFM.

Authorities last week said they had no confirmed cases in New York but there is a suspected case in Buffalo involving a 3-year-old boy. Doctors at Oishei Childen’s Hospital said Friday the boy suddenly lost strength in his legs in September and remains hospitalized.

This month, Washington state and local health officials were investigating whether five children hospitalized with sudden limb paralysis have the rare condition.

Six Minnesota children also were diagnosed with the disease in recent weeks.