"If a parent notices a child with a weak or paralyzed limb, they should go to urgent care or the hospital immediately", said Julie Graham, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health.
CDC specialists will make the final determination as to whether the cases in Washington are AFM, state health officials said. She also requested the agency answer seven questions about its response efforts by October 16 and conduct a member-level briefing for senators seeking more information on the issue.
While cases have been on the rise since 2014, AFM still affects a small population - less than one in a million people in the United States annually.
The outcomes for those afflicted are varied, she said, with some patients recovering fully and others dealing with some level of paralysis for the rest of their lives. Three cases were reported in 2017, and one other case was reported in Washington since the beginning of 2018.
Ehresman says it's unknown what causes A-F-M but people should observe good hygiene and be sure vaccinations are up-to-date. And at the end of 2104, total numbers of people affected from AFM were 120 in 34 states.More news: George W. Bush's daughter Barbara gets married in secret ceremony
AFM is believed to be caused by viruses, notably the enterovirus D68. "It can affect people of any age, but you often see it in children", Adalja says.
Kris Ehresmann with the state Health Department advises parents, "Any kind of acute muscle weakness in their kids, in arms and legs, that obviously doesn't have anything to do with spraining your ankle at soccer, that definitely they should seek medical attention". Doctors have seen a slight increase in cases since August 2014, with many of them found in children. Symptoms can include sudden arm and leg weakness, drooping eyelids, facial weakness, difficulty moving the eyes and slurred speech/difficulty swallowing.
The six Minnesota children are all 10 and younger and are in the Twin Cities, central and northeastern Minnesota.
Because AFM can develop from a viral infection, the Minnesota health department recommends that families follow "basic steps" to avoid those infections, including by washing hands, staying home if you're sick and covering your coughs and sneezes.
Health investigators are trying to figure out how some Minnesota children contracted a rare illness with polio-like symptoms. The agency is also studying AFM outbreaks to better understand the condition and uring healthcare providers to be vigilant about its symptoms. Viruses in the enterovirus genus - a group that includes the common cold and the polio virus - are most closely associated with AFM, though past cases have also been linked to West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, Saint Louis encephalitis, and adenoviruses.