Polio-Like Disease Outbreak 2018: List of AFM Cases in States Across the United States

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A mysterious disease that mimics polio called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has been reported in states across the United States. Here is a list, in alphabetical order by state, of cases recently reported.

The disease isn’t brand new this year. The CDC has reported cases dating back to 2014, and California reported some in 2012. Recently, 62 new cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year alone, USA Today reported.  Ninety percent of the cases involve children ages 18 or younger, with an average age of around 4 years old. The cause of most AFM cases isn’t known, but it’s sometimes linked to viruses. Symptoms may be similar to complications involving poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, and West Nile, NBC reported. Other possibly linked viruses include EV-A71 and EV-D68, which are distant relatives of polio. The illness is more prominent in the fall during flu and respiratory season, Huffington Post reported.

If you or your child notice a sudden weakness or loss in muscle tone, especially in the arms or legs, see a doctor right away. Symptoms may also include a drooping face or eyelids, trouble with eye movement or swallowing, slurred speech, and in severe cases trouble breathing requiring a ventilator. There is one reported case of someone dying from AFM in 2017.

The CDC has not officially identified which states had confirmed cases. Here is what Heavy has gathered from local and national news reports.

Alabama May Have No Reported Cases

Alabama is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. However, Alabama.com reported on October 17 that no cases have been reported in the state, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s records.

Alaska May Have No Confirmed Cases

Heavy could not find reports of cases in Alaska.

Arizona Polio-Like Cases

Arizona has two confirmed cases, 12 News reported. They are not related to the cluster of cases in Minnesota.

Arkansas Polio-Like Cases

Arkansas is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. KY3 reported that there are five-suspected cases in the state, but none have yet been confirmed. None were caused by the actual polio virus.

One case is in northwest Arkansas and one is in Northeast. The state had a confirmed case in 2017 and 2016.

California Polio-Like Cases

California is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported.  It’s not known exactly how many in 2018 are being investigated, but nearly 60 cases were identified between 2012 and 2015, according to a 2015 report by JAMA. Of those, 33 were male and 26 were female. Most had no pre-existing medical conditions.

Colorado Has 14 Confirmed Polio-Like Cases

Fourteen confirmed cases were identified in Colorado, more than any other state, CNN reported. Of those, 11 tested positive for enterovirus A71, one for enterovirus D68, and two tested negative for both, 9News reported. All were hospitalized, but almost all fully recovered.

Connecticut Status Not Known

At this time it’s not known if there are any suspected cases in Connecticut.

Delaware Status Not Known

At this time it’s not known if there are any suspected cases in Delaware.

Florida Polio-Like Cases

Florida is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. It confirmed its first case in late October, ABC Action News reported. The three-year-old girl was diagnosed at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville. Her mother, Reba Faircloth, said her daughter started showing symptoms on Thursday and had been in ICU since Sunday.

Georgia Polio-Like Cases

Georgia has three polio-like illnesses, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

Hawaii Reports No Confirmed Cases of AFM

Hawaii officials have said that they have no reported cases of AFM. They had a couple investigations of suspected cases, but nothing was confirmed.

Idaho Not Listed Among Confirmed or Suspected States

At this time it’s not known if there are any suspected cases in Idaho, but recent reports did not list Idaho among the states with confirmed or suspected cases, East Idaho News reported. 

Illinois Polio-Like Cases

Illinois is investigating nine recent cases of AFM, CBS reported. The diagnoses are subject to change based on the CDC’s findings. All were from northern Illinois.

Danielle Finkle, an Illinois mom, said she her son thought his arm was broken because he couldn’t hold it up on his own. And Kate Payne, also from Illinois, said she took her daughter to the ER because she was turning blue and couldn’t raise her arm.

One of the confirmed cases is 2-year-old Julia Payne, whose symptoms first resembled a cold, WLWT reported. She’s been treated for a month at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Indiana Polio-Like Cases

Indiana has fewer than six confirmed cases, CNN reported. One case was an 8-year-old who had some paralysis and a partially collapsed lung, WLWT reported.

Two cases were confirmed in Indiana in 2017.

Iowa Polio-Like Cases

Iowa has two confirmed cases, Des Moines Register reported. Both were younger than 18 and were treated and released from hospitals in western and central Iowa.

Kansas Cases

this time it’s not known if there are any suspected cases in Idaho, but recent reports did not list Kansas among the states with confirmed or suspected cases. However, two cases were reported in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kentucky Polio-Like Cases

Three children were treated at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky,  Wave 3 reported. They were between the ages of 3 and 8. The CDC confirmed one of those cases was reported to them. Two of the children experienced a respiratory virus before having AFM symptoms. Two had mild symptoms, but one was sicker and had breathing issues, Courier-Journal reported.

Louisiana Polio-Like Cases

Louisiana is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. More details are not yet known.

Maine Cases

Maine has not had polio-like cases reported this year, but states nearby have, WMTW reported. Two cases were confirmed in Massachusetts, and one suspected case was in New Hampshire.

Maryland Polio-Like Cases

Maryland is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. The Washington Post elaborated, sharing that five children are believed to have contracted the disease this fall. These are being investigated by the CDC. The first case was reported on September 21.

Massachusetts Polio-Like Cases

Massachusetts has confirmed two cases, NECN reported. Four suspected cases are also being treated.

Michigan Polio-Like Cases

Michigan is investigating a possible case with an adult male, which is rarer, Click on Detroit reported. Further details were not released.

Minnesota Polio-Like Cases

Minnesota has had six confirmed cases since mid-September, the Minnesota Department of Health reported.  Minnesota typically sees one case a year, MSN reported. The recent cases were all in children younger than 10.

On October 17, CTPost noted that a seventh child was diagnosed with AFM. Five out of the first six had been discharged from the hospital and one was still hospitalized. A couple of the discharged patients were receiving rehabilitation help outside the hospital.

Mississippi Status Unclear

Mississippi’s status isn’t known, but recent reports did not list it among the states with confirmed or suspected cases

Missouri Polio-Like Cases

Two cases of AFM were confirmed in Kansas City, Missouri, Fox 4 reported. These were at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Montana Polio-Like Cases

Montana is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. Two suspected cases are in Gallatin County, KRTV reported. These involve two adults, which is rarer. More details, including age and gender, weren’t released.

Nebraska Polio-Like Cases

Nebraska is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. This includes one in Douglas County. Another was in western Nebraska, Nebraska Radio Network reported. Both victims were young children around the age of four.

Nevada Polio-Like Case

Nevada is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. One involves a child in Clark County who was confirmed to have AFM, RGJ reported. This is the first confirmed Nevada case.

New Hampshire

A suspected case was found in New Hampshire in a child in Rockingham County, WMUR reported. There have been five total cases in the state since it started tracking the illness in 2014.

New Jersey Polio-Like Cases

New Jersey has confirmed at least three cases, ABC 7 reported.

New Mexico Cases

It’s not known if there are current cases in New Mexico. A six-year-old child died from AFM in New Mexico in 2016.

New York Polio-Like Cases

New York is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. The state has reported an outbreak of EV-D68, an enterovirus that’s a distant relative of polio, and two suspected cases of AFM, NBC reported.

A report by CTPost noted one suspected case was in Buffalo involving a three-year-old boy who suddenly lost strength in his legs in September and is still hospitalized.

North Carolina Polio-Like Cases

North Carolina is investigating multiple suspected cases. Two are probable and one is confirmed, WRAL reported.

North Dakota Polio-Like Case

One suspected case is being investigated in North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald reported. If confirmed, this would be the first in the state.

Ohio Polio-Like Cases

Ohio has one case of AFM, ABC 6 reported. There are two additional suspected cases were treated and released at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Childrens Hospital, Cleveland.com reported. Additional details weren’t released.

Oklahoma Polio-Like Cases

Oklahoma is investigating suspected cases, CNN reported. This includes one child who was confirmed from the summer, KFOR reported.

Oregon Has No Cases Yet This Year

Oregon has not reported any cases yet this year, Oregon Live reported. But there were three in 2014 and three in 2016.


A report by CBS News indicated that three cases were being treated in Pittsburgh that were confirmed. An additional three suspected cases are being treated, WTAE reported. 

Rhode Island Cases

Rhode Island has fewer than six confirmed cases, CNN reported.

South Carolina Polio-Like Cases

South Carolina has fewer than six confirmed cases, CNN reported. One includes Preslee Holcombe, three, who was diagnosed in February at an ER after losing feeling from the waist down, WFMY reported. She first appeared to have a cold and was on a ventilator 12 to 15 hours later, her mom Elizabeth told WFMY.

South Dakota Status Unclear

At this time it’s not known if there are any suspected cases in South Dakota, but recent reports did not list the state among those with confirmed or suspected cases.

Tennessee Polio-Like Cases

In Tennessee, a Chattanooga boy was treated in Atlanta for treatment of AFM, Tennessean reported. But state officials said there were no cases confirmed by the CDC in Tennessee. There were no confirmed cases in 2017, but there were two in 2016.

Texas Has 10 Confirmed Polio-Like Cases

Texas has had ten confirmed cases, KRISTV reported. This includes three children in North Texas treated at Cook Children’s Medical Center, including two who suffered severe neurological damage, Star-Telegram reported. A fourth is being reviewed from Cook’s. There are also cases in Harris and Galveston counties.

Utah Has Had No Cases Yet in 2018

Utah hasn’t had any cases yet in 2018, KUTV reported, but it’s had cases in the past. This includes a probable case in 2017, and two confirmed cases in 2016.

Vermont Is Clear So Far

Vermont has had no recorded cases of AFM in the last three years, Sentinel Source reported.

Virginia Is Clear So Far

Maribeth Brewster of the Virginia Department of Health said no confirmed cases of AFM have been reported this year, The Washington Post reported. Three cases were confirmed in 2016.

Washington Has Six Suspected Polio-Like Cases

Washington is investigating six suspected cases, KHQ reported. These cases all involve children under the age of six. All had reports of a respiratory illness the week before becoming ill. All were on the west side of the state. Two children were in King County, one in Pierce County, one in Lewis County, and one in Snohomish County. A possible case was also reported in Skagit County later. Four out of five of the children had fevers of 100.4 or greater.

Washington D.C. Is Free So Far

Washington D.C. has had no cases so far this year, but five possible cases are being investigated in Maryland, Fox 5 reported.

West Virginia Is Clear So Far

No cases have been reported in West Virginia yet this year, WVNews reported. But Dr. Mark Povroznik told WVNews that residents shouldn’t get complacent. “West Virginia is not immune to its potential effects,” he said. “The limiting factor in most situations is simply time.”

Wisconsin Cases

Wisconsin has two confirmed cases, WBAY reported. The cases were in southern and southeastern parts of the state.

Wyoming Cases

It’s not clear if Wyoming has had any cases yet this year. A cluster of cases were noted in Wyoming in 2014.

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