Monday, 19 November, 2018

AFM in 22 states: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Case Of Polio-Like Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed In Mass. Five kids in Maryland may have a polio-like disease, as CDC investigates
Alonzo Parks | 18 October, 2018, 04:55

"We don't know why in the majority of cases, we don't even find a cause for the illness, we can't determine what virus may have caused it, and so that's been challenging nationwide", said Susann Ahrabi-Fard, communicable disease epidemiologist with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), an extremely rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system and causes the body's muscles and reflexes to become weak, is on the rise across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

A rare illness doctors are comparing to polio is spreading in states surrounding North Dakota.

At least 65 other illnesses around the US were being investigated as possible cases.

CNN did not have any reported cases in Missouri but our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported at least one child had sought treatment at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness", Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control, said Tuesday.

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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. Another spike came in 2016. There are a variety of possible causes of AFM, such as viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders. The polio-like illness causes limited mobility or paralysis.

In research developments, a team based at the J. Craig Venter Institute conducted experiments to see if a specific EV-D68 genotype is linked to neurologic symptoms and found that some viruses from the 2014 outbreak can infect neuronal cells.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs. For reasons not fully understood, AFM affects mainly children. There is no known treatment other than physical therapy. And though enteroviruses have been detected in some paralysis cases, it hasn't been found in others, CDC officials say. She noted the confirmed cases are in 22 states.

The medical name is Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM.

She recommended that parents take routine protections against viral infections, such as keeping up to date on immunizations, washing hands, and avoiding mosquito bites. Doctors at Children's have not seen an AFM patient needing a ventilator this year, but have treated such cases in the past, Benson said.

The CDC is not saying how many states have patients under investigation, only that it's more than 22. States are not required to provide this information to CDC, but they have been voluntarily reporting their data.

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