Mysterious Paralyzing Illness Like Polio Found Among Kids in 22 States
Mysterious Paralyzing Illness Like Polio Found Among Kids in 22 States
Five kids in Maryland may have a polio-like disease, as CDC investigates
18 October, 2018, 04:52
The CDC has confirmed 62 cases in 22 states, including Texas, and the rest are being investigated.
States reporting suspected cases or cases under investigation are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Washington. And in very rare cases, AFM can trigger fatal neurological complications.
The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases.
AFM affects the nervous system, specifically the area of spinal cord called gray matter, and causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak or even paralyzed.
"Nobody really knows treatment protocols, they don't know prognosis, and they can't really give parents an answer as to where this is coming from", she said.
The overall rate of AFM is fewer than one in a million, she said.
Last year the number dropped to 16, making the pattern one that hits harder every other year.
So far, viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders are all possible causes for the spike. Limb paralysis caused by the illness can worsen quickly, so it's also important that individuals experiencing these symptoms receive prompt medical attention.
Federal health officials took the unusual step on Tuesday of warning the public about an increase in a mysterious and rare condition that mostly affects children and can cause paralysis.
MA has seen a total of 16 confirmed cases in children since 2014, plus one probable case in an adult.
According to the CDC, scientists have not yet been able to determine who is most at risk for developing AFM.
CNN found 47 confirmed cases and 49 more that were suspected or being investigated, for a total of 96 cases in 30 states in 2018.
There is now no cure for AFM, known cause in most cases, or clear explanation for why some people who contract the enterovirus experience symptoms and others do not. "Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".
As far as prevention, doctors recommend the polio vaccine but also say to practice good hygiene.
Other enteroviruses have also been found in patients with AFM.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health says symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs.
It's a debilitating, mystery illness.and it's spreading.
The Douglas County Health Department's Phil Rooney said, "This is not a diagnosis like flu or other diseases where you can do blood draw fluids".
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