'Polio-like' illness cases continue to rise

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Headlines across the region are talking about the mysterious virus mimicking polio.

Several cases have already been found in Minnesota and Iowa.

The illness is called Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a cousin to polio.

The virus is actually a common cold virus. AFM attacks the nervous system causing weak limbs or slurred speech.

Dr. Jennifer McKay with Avera said prevention of this virus is easy -- wash your hands and if your child is sick to keep them home from school.

Parents should also keep an eye on their children if they do fall ill and look for certain signs that can become concerning.

"The one thing to keep in mind with kids is that kids can't really fake it, if they're sick and they have a fever and they're playing and laughing, that's a kid you don't have to worry about, but a little kid that doesn't want to get off the couch and just seems weaker than usual, that's something to be very concerned about," she said.

More than 30 cases of AFM have been reported in 16 states since September.