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Health experts: MT confirmed case of polio-like illness no cause for panic

Posted at 9:33 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 10:51:13-05

BOZEMAN – A case of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has been confirmed in Gallatin County in a has been found at Bozeman Health.

It’s a very rare neurological disorder that was identified in 2014. Most cases have been found in children, but the case in Gallatin County was confirmed in an adult.

Doctors aren’t positive of the cause of this illness. Symptoms include weakness or numbness in the legs or arms, and the onset is slow with flu-like symptoms.

“We are talking a very small number of people that are even susceptible to this in the general population. If you think about the numbers, we have less than a thousand cases in four years nationwide,” said Bozeman Health Neurologist and Physician Systems Director Dr. Richard Popwell.

“We’re trying to understand this illness. We just so happen to have somebody who had the perfect storm and they had exposure to a virus, theoretically, because we don’t even know if that’s what is causing all of these cases and they just so happen to contract this,” he said.

Dr. Popwell says there is no need for the community to be alarmed, to continue to stay away from people who are ill and maintain basic health precautions like washing your hands. Currently, most treatment for this disorder is supportive care.

-Emma Hamilton reporting for MTN News