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3 more suspected cases of polio-like disease being treated

PITTSBURGH — The Allegheny County Health Department reported on Thursday three new suspected cases of acute flaccid myelitis being treated at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. These are in addition to the three cases that were confirmed earlier this week.

According to ACHD, these new cases are all children from the county.

"The Health Department continues to investigate these cases and is awaiting additional test results. At this time, no connection between cases has been established," ACHD said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Doctors at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh provided an update on the mysterious illness that is affecting children across the country.

Channel 11 reported last week that there were three suspected of AFM cases in the Pittsburgh area that had been sent to the CDC for testing, and the results just came back positive.

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John Williams, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said the neurological disease is still very rare.

The cause is often unknown, but it can be triggered in some kids by common viruses, Dr. Williams said.

>>RELATED: Son of local basketball coach fighting polio-like disease at Children's Hospital

Dr. Williams said parents should look for symptoms, including weakness of arms or legs and that a full recovery is not always possible.


"Most kids do experience some recovery and some kids will have a full recovery, but a lot of kids are left with residual weakness which can be mild, such as weakness in one arm or leg, or in some cases it can be severe, where they're not able to walk,” Dr. Williams said.

Dr. Williams said the disease can be triggered by viruses. Parents should practice good hygiene, like washing your hands and coughing into your elbow.

"The most common causes that we do identify are viruses and most of these are common viruses that many children get and we don't know why only a very, very few develop the nerve problems from the virus," he said.