Mystery disease victim identified as Ferndale boy

The Washington Post published a story yesterday detailing comments made by the boy's parents.

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PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center emergency entrance (November 2016). Photo: My Ferndale News
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In a story published yesterday in the Washington Post, writer Dan Hurley identified one of the children tentatively diagnosed in recent weeks with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), and the first person known to have died of the mysterious disease, as Daniel Ramirez Porter, age 6, of Ferndale.

According to the story, Daniel woke up with a fever on October 6th so his mother kept him home from school. Within 3 days, “he was stumbling and drooling, unable to keep food in his mouth or to speak clearly.” It was then his parents took him to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Doctors were initially baffled Daniel’s mother was quoted as saying in the story. While his condition became progressively worse, seven other children around the state were discovered to have similar symptoms. Doctors gave a tentative diagnosis of AFM.

UPDATE 11-4-16: The Washington State Department of Health and the Seattle Children’s Hospital announced today that 8 patients have been confirmed to have AFM. They also announced, “A ninth child who died did not have AFM.”

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Daniel died October 30th.

Whatcom County Health Department recently sent out a letter explaining what they do and do not know about the now nine children who have been treated for similar symptoms with yet unknown causes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most patients will have a sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Some patients, in addition to the limb weakness, will experience:

  • facial droop/weakness
  • difficulty moving the eyes
  • drooping eyelids
  • difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech

According to the CDC, there is no specific treatment for AFM but a neurologist may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis.

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The CDC advises if you or your child is having problems walking or standing or develop sudden weakness in an arm or leg, you should contact a doctor right away.

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