Children’s Mercy Hospital treating patients with rare polio-like illness

Children's Mercy Hospital

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A rare condition that can cause muscle weakness and trouble breathing has been reported in Kansas City.

Officials at Children’s Mercy Hospital said two cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, have been confirmed at the hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AFM causes inflammation of the spinal cord area that can directly impact muscle use. Most of the patients are children.

A spokeswoman for Children’s Mercy said in an email that they have notified the health department and are working with the CDC to learn more about the illness.

Since the CDC began studying AFM in 2014, there have been 362 documented cases, with 38 of them occurring this year. The exact cause of the illness is not known.

Children’s Mercy encourages people to stay home when they are sick to prevent the spread of respiratory illness. The doctors at the hospital also said that people should get the flu shot.