SEATTLE -

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 (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 AFM.

Scientists at CDC 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.