Washington state polio-like cases linked to rare syndrome AFM

CDC scientists are working to determine the exact cause of eight cases of acute flaccid myelitis in Washington state. (CNN/File)

Health officials have confirmed that eight of nine children hospitalized in Washington state for a polio-like illness have a rare syndrome that causes varying degrees of paralysis.

The Washington State Department of Health in a statement Friday says the eight cases are acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM, which affects the nervous system and specifically the spinal cord.

Washington State Department of Health spokeswoman Julie Graham says a ninth child who died this week at a Seattle hospital was found not to have the syndrome.

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to determine the exact cause of AFM. The children had a loss of strength or movement in one or more arms or legs with a range of types and severity of symptoms.

Many viruses and germs are linked to AFM, including germs that can cause colds.

Doctors say the syndrome is not contagious.Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.