Case of paralyzing illness confirmed in young Douglas County resident, the third so far in Nebraska

A case of a paralyzing illness has been confirmed in a young Douglas County resident, marking the third documented case of the rare condition so far in Nebraska.

The resident confirmed with acute flaccid myelitis is younger than 18 years old and has been released from a hospital, Douglas County health officials said Monday.

Two cases have been confirmed in the Sarpy/Cass Health Department’s jurisdiction. Investigators have found no connection between the two cases.

A fourth suspected cases has been reported in Dakota County. The results of that investigation have not yet been reported.

An early suspected case of the illness in Douglas County was not confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patient met some but not all of the criteria for being a confirmed case of the illness, known as AFM.

“AFM remains extremely rare,” Adi Pour, the Douglas County Health Department’s director, said in a statement. “It is not something that can be passed from person to person.”

The condition affects mostly children and as yet has no clear cause.

Symptoms tend to occur about a week after a child has had a fever and respiratory illness. They include muscle weakness or paralysis, including in the face, neck, back or limbs. CDC officials say at least half the patients do not recover from the paralysis and some have serious complications.

Federal officials said last week that the number of cases of the illness appears to have peaked and is expected to decline for the rest of 2018. Most of the latest cases to be confirmed occurred in September and October.

So far in 2018, a total of 165 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 36 states out of a total 320 suspected cases reported to the CDC.