Julia Payne, a 2-year-old from Batavia, is also being treated at Lurie. According to her mother, Katie Payne, Julia's symptoms also seemed like a cold. Her daughter went in for an X-ray and could not hold up her own head. She has been in the hospital for months.
On Wednesday night, Julia was successfully moved to the rehabilitation center at Lurie, where she will undergo months of extensive physical therapy to regain movement in her arms and neck.
"The transition was as smooth as can be, and [Julia] is still full of sass," Payne wrote on social media. "We are counting so many blessings tonight as we reflect on this surreal journey."
The first cases of AFM appeared in the country in 2014, according to the CDC, and have been connected to environmental toxins, genetic disorders, and viruses such as West Nile, adenovirus, and enterovirus. While much is still unknown about AFM and a singular cause cannot be identified, the IDPH lists symptoms that can include: sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes; facial droops and weakness; difficulty moving the eyes; drooping eyelids; difficult with swallowing; and slurred speech.
The IDPH advises anyone exhibiting these symptoms to seek medical care right away, and to make sure children's vaccinations are up-to-date.
AFM can be hard to diagnose because it shares many of the same symptoms as other neurological diseases. While there are no specific treatment options, doctors who specialize in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses might recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis, such as physical therapy to counteract muscle weakness once a patient is stable.
Julia's doctors found a treatment option in plasmapheresis, a type of dialysis which cleans the blood's plasma.
Noah's treatment is ongoing.