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Utah girl diagnosed with rare polio-like illness, paralyzing her

Posted at 7:54 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 23:37:33-05

(KSTU) — A Utah girl has been diagnosed with a rare polio-like illness, that has no known cure and affects very few children per year, a fundraising page said.

Six-year-old Nora was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, known as AFM, which affects the body’s nervous system — specifically, the spinal cord — and can cause paralysis. Unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM.

GoFundMe page called “Roar with Nora” that on her sixth birthday, the day after Thanksgiving, she had the sniffles. Her cold started to progress, but by the following Tuesday, her parents said she felt fine, but complained that her leg “felt funny.”

The next day Nora woke up and was unable to walk, and her left leg was paralyzed, the page stated.

“She was taken to the ER and admitted to Primary Children’s Hospital that night; by the next day she had lost movement in her right leg as well,” the GoFundMe stated.

The page said that Nora will need prolonged physical therapy.

AFM can develop from a viral infection, although its exact cause is unknown. Symptoms include limb weakness, facial drooping and trouble swallowing or talking. Doctors stress the importance of recognizing the early signs of AFM and seeking care as soon as possible.

Treatment focuses only on alleviating symptoms.

In October, six cases of the illness were diagnosed in children in Minnesota.

“Nora is curious, imaginative, playful, funny, and sometimes feisty. Her lion cub strength and determination have helped her brave the discomforts and indignities of her affliction and hospitalization, and we believe they’ll help her push past the boundaries of her new disability” the GoFundMe said. “In the hospital, instead of saying ‘I can’t do it,’ we hear Nora say, ‘Trying, it’s not working.'”

CNN contributed to portions of this story.