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Allegheny

2 children with 'modern polio' disease from Allegheny County

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, 1:39 p.m.

Two of the children undergoing treatment for a rare neurological disease at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh are from Allegheny County and the third is from Washington County, according to the Allegheny County Health Department.

The children were diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis , a disease that can lead to lifelong paralysis, UPMC confirmed Tuesday. The health department released the patients’ counties of residence Wednesday.

A UPMC spokeswoman said isolation protocols and infection control procedures were in place. The condition, which affects fewer than one in 1 million people per year in the United States, is not well understood.

Respiratory viruses can sometimes lead to the polio-like condition, known as AFM, or it can come from environmental toxins or genetic disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency recommends regular hand-washing, keeping up to date on vaccines — including the polio vaccine — and avoiding mosquito bites.

The last major AFM outbreak — 120 cases across 34 states in 2014 — coincided with a sharp rise in severe respiratory illnesses caused by enterovirus D68.

This year, the CDC has observed 38 confirmed cases in 16 states, the federal agency said in an update last week.

Wesley Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Wesley at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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