Mysterious paralyzing illness reported in 22 states — CDC

Mysterious paralyzing illness reported in 22 states — CDC

The average age of children is about 4, she said, and 90 percent of cases the CDC has been studying since 2014 have involved children 18 or younger. The symptoms tend to occur about a week after they had a fever and respiratory illness.

The number is almost double the amount observed in 2017, when 33 AFM cases were found in the US.

"We have not been able to find the cause of the majority of AFM cases", Messonnier said. Sixty-two of them were confirmed in 2018 alone, across 22 states. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 62 cases this year and a total of 386 since 2014.

CNN has reported that this year, more than half of all USA states have had confirmed or possible cases, including North and SC. Maryland's first case was reported September 21.

We spoke with Dr. Leslie Benson, assistant director of the neuro-immunology program at Boston Children's Hospital, to learn more about the illness, which has been described as being similar to polio. Parents should seek medical care right away if their child develops sudden weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs.

Acute flacid myelitis or AFM is not new, but cases have been on the rise since 2014. Then in 2016, it peaked again with 149 cases in 39 states. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to conclude that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

"AFM is a rare condition".

Messonnier stressed that while she understands how frightening this situation is for parents, they should remember that the infections are, in fact, rare.

While AFM is incredibly rare, the current rate is less than one case for every 1 million Americans, Messonnier urged parents and health care providers to be on the lookout for symptoms.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but treatments that have been tried include immunoglobulin replacement therapy, corticosteroids, plasma exchange and antiviral therapy, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Know what else the government says, though?




State health officials in Minnesota issued an alert to doctors this month after six children there were diagnosed with AFM.

The scariest and most severe symptom is when the disease affects the diaphragm, the muscle that helps us breathe. Officials will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases.

"It's definitely not been transmissable from person to person from what the investigation so far has seen". We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk.

Tyler has found in the lab that strains of EV-D68 can paralyze mice, Science reports, and researchers are investigating the possibility that genetic factors could predispose people to paralysis after infection.

The CDC encourages people to prevent the disease by staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites. In 2015, the CDC identified 22 patients who exhibited symptoms of AFM.

One child has died from the condition.

"Families really sticking with it are seeing slow but steady recovery", he said.

The CDC says that there has been an increase in cases of AFM since 2014.

It's possible that some milder cases haven't been reported by doctors to their state health department or to the CDC, but Messonnier said she believes the number of such cases would be small, NPR reported.

So far, the CDC hasn't seen any geographic patterns based on reporting from states.

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