State health officials: Polio-like disease reported in Mercer, 3 other Ohio counties

File photo of a doctor examining a child.
Caption
File photo of a doctor examining a child.

Credit: Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

Credit: Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

Ohio is reporting four confirmed cases of the rare, polio-like illness known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), in Mercer and three other counties, the Ohio Department of Health reported Wednesday.

>> 5 things you need to know about polio-like disease AFM

The cases, which involve males ranging in age from 1 year to 13 years old, have been reported in Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Mercer and Pickaway counties, health department officials said.

None of the illnesses, which required hospitalizations, turned fatal. The illnesses occurred during a period from Aug. 5 to Sept. 16, health department officials said.

Nationally, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the agency continues to receive reports of children with AFM. CDC is working hard to find the causes of the AFM cases, officials said.

AFM is not new, according to the CDC, but the increase in cases the agency began seeing beginning in 2014 is new.

>> CDC: AFM in U.S. Children 

The state health department is emphasizing these key points:

  • AFM is a rare medical condition that affects less than 1 in a million people in the U.S. each year.
  • While the number of AFM cases has increased in the U.S. from 33 in 2017 to 62 so far in 2018, seasonal flu is a much greater health risk for most families, including children.
  • Parents can help protect their children from serious diseases by taking preventive measures such as washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended immunizations and using insect repellent to prevent diseases transmitted through the bite of infected insects such as mosquitoes.

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