What is acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the polio-like illness causing worry?

What is acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the polio-like illness causing worry?

US health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children, and said it seems to be following an every-other-year pattern. And in very rare cases, AFM can trigger fatal neurological complications.

The states reporting confirmed cases are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. Outbreaks are most common from August to October, and over 90 percent of the cases have involved children under 18 years old, with the average age of those inflicted standing at just 4 years old.

"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 CDC knows of one child who died with the disorder in 2017. Messonnier said West Nile virus, which had been listed as a possible cause on CDC's website, is also not causing the illnesses.

Messonnier said the search for a cause is frustrating, and so far, no particular pathogen or immune response has been identified that would explain the big AFM peaks.

"AFM is a rare, but serious condition that affects the nervous system". Of those, 30 states said they had cases that were confirmed, suspected or being investigated - including 15 states that said they had confirmed cases in 2018.

History: The CDC has no idea why there has been a spike in cases, though there have been similar spikes in 2014 and 2016, according to Fox News.

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The CDC has received more than 120 reports of patients under investigation for the illness this year and confirmed at least 62 cases. We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk. Besides a sudden onset of paralysis or weakness in the limbs, some patients experience drooping of their face or eyelids, difficulty swallowing or moving the eyes, and slurred speech. They also wanted to raise awareness about the frightening condition so parents can seek medical care if their child develops symptoms, and so reports of the illness can be quickly relayed back to the CDC.

Many local cases have been treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Although symptoms resemble polio, no evidence of poliovirus has been found in specimens from any case diagnosed so far, Messonnier said.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the disease, one parent posted that her daughter was diagnosed with AFM four years ago after catching enterovirus.

It's a debilitating, mystery illness.and it's spreading.

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