Health officials: Oklahoma child diagnosed with rare polio-like illness

OKLAHOMA CITY - Health officials in Oklahoma say an Oklahoma child has been diagnosed with a polio-like illness that is sweeping the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there have been 62 cases of the rare polio-like condition acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM, this year. The cases stretch across 22 states, and most of the patients are children under the age of 18-years-old.

Other possible cases are still under investigation.

AFM is an illness that affects the nervous system, causing muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak or even paralyzed.

Experts say the early symptoms of the disease include arm or leg weakness, and loss of muscle tone. Additional symptoms include facial drooping or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech.

According to the CDC, the most severe cases of AFM can lead to respiratory failure and even death.

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that a case from the summer has now been classified as AFM. Authorities say they are still awaiting confirmed lab results from the CDC.

So far, the only detail being released about the patient is that he or she is an Oklahoma resident under 18-years-old.

At this point, health officials are not sure what causes AFM but say that it can occur after a viral infection, West Nile Virus and other illnesses.