Publish date:

Report: 7th child in Minnesota diagnosed with rare disease that attacks the nervous system

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating.

The number of children in the United States diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is once again spiking. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that there have been at least 62 cases of the disease in the U.S. this year, with the cases spanning 22 states. In other words, it's extremely rare with less than one in a million people getting it, but the numbers are on the rise just as they were in 2014 and 2016. 

Six cases have been confirmed in Minnesota, although WCCO reported Tuesday that the Minnesota Department of Health has reported a seventh case in the state. All of the clinical diagnosis in Minnesota have come since mid-September, the MDH said in a news release last week

Most cases involve children, the CDC notes. In Minnesota, each case has involved a child aged 10 or younger and cases have been confirmed in the Twin Cities, central and northeastern Minnesota.

Symptoms include:

  • Neck weakness or stiffness
  • Drooping eyelids or a facial droop
  • Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech

Those hard-hitting symptoms tend to develop a week or so after a fever and respiratory illness. 

"If parents see potential symptoms of AFM in their child, (for example, if he or she is not using an arm) they should contact their health care provider as soon as possible," the MDH says. 

The CDC says the disease is following an every-other-year pattern, with bouts of it spiking in 2014, 2016 and again in 2018. 

The cause of AFM is unknown. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

Next Up

Car driving

Minnesota is on track for the most road deaths since 2007

Minnesota has recorded 384 traffic deaths as of Oct. 14.


1 dead, 1 airlifted following Goodhue County crash

The crash happened around 6:15 a.m. Sunday.

railroad crossing, train crossing

Woman found dead on train tracks in Moorhead

The woman was located by officials on train tracks near Memorial Park Sunday morning.

police tape, crime scene

Search for killer after man is fatally shot in Hopkins

The shooting was reported around 7:40 p.m. Sunday.

skylar hunter and jamie hunter

Victims in double killing ID'd as father and son; suspect was son's roommate

A man killed his roommate and his roommate's father early Saturday in St. Louis County, authorities said.

Mike Zimmer

‘Fire Zimmer’ trending after Vikings beat Panthers

The Vikings won the game but their coach is still on the hot seat.

Screen Shot 2021-10-17 at 8.24.33 PM

NCHC condemns Huskies fans for throwing projectiles after controversial no-call

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference says that it will be reviewing both the no-call and the aftermath.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins saves the day again to get Vikings to .500

Cousins' overtime toss to K.J. Osborn earned a 34-28 victory.

Nurses on strike

Nurses start 3-day strike at Allina WestHealth in Plymouth

A "last attempt" at negotiations failed to produce an agreement last Wednesday.

boating minnesota lake

Minnesota has experienced its deadliest boating season since 2005

Minnesota has seen 17 boating-related deaths so far this year.

Drew Doughty

Kirill Kaprizov makes Kings’ Doughty eat his words

The Kings defenseman isn't a fan of the Wild star's new deal.


Screen Shot 2021-05-25 at 9.09.14 PM

Minnesota boy diagnosed with rare tick-borne disease

The boy is believed to have contracted the disease from a tick in the Buffalo area.

doctor, blood work, needle

Sexually transmitted diseases continue to rise in Minnesota

There were more than 32,000 reported cases of STDs in 2018.

Rare neurological disease reported in six Minnesota kids

Officials are investigating this "rare but potentially severe" condition.

Minnesota leads the US in cases of a rare, deadly tick-borne disease

The disease can cause swelling of the brain and often proves fatal.

heart monitor, hospital

25 cases of rare child disease possibly linked to COVID-19 in MN

It's extremely rare, but health officials want parents to be aware.

Ticks are spreading more diseases every year in Minnesota

More than 26,000 tick-borne disease cases in Minnesota since 2004.

vaccine, covid

MN saw decline in routine child vaccinations amid pandemic

The CDC study looked at Minnesota and nine other states.