By Dana Kozlov

CHICAGO (CBS)–A 2-year-old girl is being hospitalized for a mystery illness that causes symptoms that mimic polio, Lurie Children’s Hospital says.

After a month in the hospital, Julia Payne is almost ready to leave the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

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Ahead of her lies a long path of intensive inpatient therapy to help her recover after Acute Flaccid Myelitis left her small body very weak.

Acute-Flaccid -Myelitis

The symptoms of the illness start out similar to the common cold, but escalate into muscle weakness, slurred speech and paralysis.

The toddler’s parents, Josh and Katy Payne, said they saw the first sign that something was seriously wrong when their child developed a bluish color.

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The symptoms took on greater severity when the illness attacked her nervous system.

“She lost control of her neck, and it continued to go down from there,” her parents said.

At least six cases of the rare illness have been reported in Minnesota in the past few weeks, authorities said.

Doctors said the child is expected to make a recovery.

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