Salem girl diagnosed with rare illness that causes paralysis

Family of girl treated for rare illness talks

SALEM, Ore. -- A 10-year-old Salem girl is being treated for acute flaccid myelitis, a rare and mysterious illness that can lead to paralysis.

The condition, commonly known as AFM, affects the body’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.

Breea Shelton starting having cold-like symptoms, but within days her symptoms got worse.

“About 1:30 in the morning last Friday, she started losing feeling on her left side, she started going limp, her neck was all acting funny,” said Max Marshall, Breea’s great-uncle. “Her mom and dad took her the emergency room and said, 'Look, something is drastically wrong with our daughter.'”    

After a series of tests, doctors determined it was likely AFM.

AFM is the same mysterious condition that recently hospitalized eight kids in Washington and has sickened three children so far this year in Oregon.

Marshall says Breea’s illness is especially challenging because she has autism and has a hard time communicating how she feels.

Breea's family set-up a GoFundMe to help pay for expenses related top her treatment.

Her doctor says he is hopeful she is turning the corner and on the road to recovery.

Doctors say AFM is extremely uncommon. But anyone can get this rare illness, which presents itself with a sudden onset of symptoms, including limb weakness, facial drooping and difficulty swallowing and talking.


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