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JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami) – Florida has its first case in the state of a child contracting a rare polio-like virus that causes paralysis.
Doctors in Jacksonville confirm a toddler has contracted acute flaccid myelitis.
Aamira Faircloth, 3, was hospitalized after her mom noticed she was showing symptoms. Reba Faircloth said she knew something was wrong because her daughter has always been an energetic, playful girl.
“Always running around, doing anything, getting into everything and then just bam, it was so fast, it was like, what is going on,” she said.
A week ago, Faircloth noticed her daughter getting sick, running a fever and vomiting. Her symptoms then got worse. By the weekend, Faircloth said her daughter started losing function in her arms and legs.
“She couldn’t hold herself up and everything, so I came to the emergency room Sunday. So pretty much from Wednesday to Sunday, it was as fast, very fast,” she said.
Aamira has been in an intensive care unit bed ever since.
“She tells me, ‘Mommy, I want to get down’ or ‘hold me,’ and I’m just like, ‘I can’t.’ It’s a lot,” she said.
Doctors diagnosed Aamira with acute flaccid myelitis or AFM. The disease attacks the nervous system, weakening the body’s muscles and reflexes.
The Centers for Disease Control said symptoms include arm and leg weakness, facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes, and trouble swallowing.
AFM, which has affected kids across the country, is still a mystery to healthcare officials.
“If we knew what causes it, we could treat it so we can provide supportive therapy and make sure that there are no complications. That’s the frustrating part,” said Mobeen Rathore, the Chief of infectious diseases at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Faircloth said every parent should keep an eye on their children.
“If you see symptoms like it, like if they’re saying that their arms are hurting or they are not using them and everything, just come to the emergency room because the longer you wait, could be more worse than it is,” she said.
Doctors say Aamira girl could be in the hospital for another two to three weeks, but that it’s good she was brought in so quickly.
The best protection they recommend is to stay up to date on vaccinations, wash your hands, and protect yourself from mosquito bites.