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Acute flaccid myelitis: More about this rare illness

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Six Minnesota children have been diagnosed with a rare illness similar to polio according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, is a rare, but serious condition which typically causes weakness, even paralysis in the arms and legs, and facial drooping.

"This is very, very dramatic when you see it," said. Dr. Jon Hallberg, of the University of Minnesota.

However, it's a different disease than polio.

"They are not the same virus," Dr. Hallberg said. "[AFM] is a virus that normally lives in our guts, but for whatever reason it has been causing upper respiratory infections."

Although there's currently no vaccine or treatment, says Hallberg, there are very few cases of AFM.

"It's something we need to be aware of," Dr. Hallberg said. "But [it's] very rare, thank goodness."