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Dublin: 14°C Friday 17 September 2021

Two cases of Irish children with polio-like disease reported this year

The HPSC has issued a warning to doctors over a global increase in incidents of the disease.

AFP can cause paralysis including difficulty moving eyes and drooping eyelids.
AFP can cause paralysis including difficulty moving eyes and drooping eyelids.
Image: Shutterstock/sruilk

IRELAND’S HEALTH PROTECTION authority has issued a warning to doctors over an international increase in the incidents of a polio-like disease in children. 

Two cases of children with acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) have been notified to the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre this year.

In America 62 confirmed cases have been reported in children across 22 states since the start of 2018. Authorities there say they are concerned about the increase in incidents.

The condition can cause weakness and loss of muscle tone and doctors are being urged to be on the lookout for it. 

AFP can progress rapidly and lead to paralysis in children. 

According to the HPSC symptoms include: 

  • Weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs
  • Facial droop or weakness
  • Difficulty moving the eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech

Medical professionals are also being advised to notify the authority if they come across a child with these symptoms. 

In a statement to TheJournal.ie the HSPC said “under reporting is a matter of concern and it has used this opportunity to remind paediatricians of the importance of reporting AFP cases”.

The body said the best way of preventing the disease is to be “up-to-date on vaccines and practice good hygiene including washing your hands”.

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