The polio-like disease spreading across the U.S. is hitting close to home. A child treated at a central New York hospital may have been infected.

Doctors at Upstate University Hospital and Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital tell News Channel 9, two cases of Enterovirus 68, the virus linked to Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) have been confirmed. One of the two children showed signs of AFM, a virus that causes polio like symptoms but lab results are still pending.

Enterovirus 68 symptoms include sneezing, coughing, body aches and a runny nose. But the virus is linked to AFM that affects the gray matter in the spinal cord, causing weak muscles and paralysis in children. "All parents must take simple steps to protect their children, especially those who are immune-compromised or have respiratory problems, to avoid becoming infected," said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

There have already been 62 confirmed cases of AFM in 22 states. In New York, there are 4 suspected cases, all pending confirmation.

The New York State Department of Health is advising parents and care givers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Enterovirus 68 and AFM and take precautions to protect their children. If a child has sudden weakness or paralysis in the arms in legs, they should get medical attention right away.

Protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Use the same precautions you would use to prevent the spread of influenza.

Get more information on EV-D68 at the CDC.

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