The Minnesota Department of Health has announced that six children in Minnesota have recently been diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, a condition that is sometimes a complication seen after a viral infection.

Mankato Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Katie Smentek.

Mankato Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Katie Smentek said people that come down with the condition, “Will have a sudden muscle weakness in the arms or the legs. It can also be associated with neck weakness or stiffness, drooping face or drooping eyelids, and difficulty swallowing and slurred speech.”

The state typically sees one case or fewer per year, and Smentek said, “It’s rare. I’ve never seen a case of it myself. Four cases were diagnosed in Minnesota in 2014.

Smentek explained that AFM is sometimes a complication seen after a viral infection and, “There is an association with one particular virus called enterovirus D 68 but not all cases can be traced to that virus specifically.”

“The recovery varies quite a bit, from complete recovery to persistent paralysis to parts of the body,” she said.

Because the condition often follows a respiratory virus, Smentek said proper hygiene is important. “Wash your hands frequently, stay home if you’re sick, cover your cough, protect yourself from mosquito bites – although hopefully there will be a frost soon.”