Cases of mysterious paralyzing illness reported in 22 states

18 October, 2018, 04:53 | Author: Angelica Greene

There were outbreaks of around 100 cases, nationwide, between August and October in both 2014 and 2016.

"That's important because enteroviruses cause the common cold", Ellerin said.

"So it is primarily a disease of the children", she said.

"The CDC has now categorized the case as AFM", Department of Health spokesman Tony Sellars said.

"I think I would tell parents to be vigilant in looking out for, you know, arms or legs not working, that floppy head, those respiratory symptoms that don't seem consistent with other basic illnesses", she said.

So what exactly is AFM?

The CDC says to be on the lookout for the onset of arm or leg weakness, and loss of muscle tone and reflexes.

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But it could be as simple as just feeling like the flu. There is no known treatment other than physical therapy.

"What we have been told is that he's the best case scenario of a hard situation", she said. In 2017, one person died of AFM. "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".

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for AFM, though the CDC says neurologists may suggest options on a case-by-case basis.

"Getting vaccinated, taking precaution against mosquitoes, washing hands-all of these things are recommended by the CDC", Narula said.

Dr. Leslie Benson, assistant director of Children's pediatric neuroimmunology program, said AFM patients show a wide spectrum of symptoms. Another kind of virus is suspected, but it's been found in only some of the cases.

And if you're traveling somewhere warm, wear that bug spray.

"But the appearance of the AFM symptoms is actually very rare".

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But this illness is exceedingly rare, affecting fewer than one in a million people.

Health officials in Oklahoma say an Oklahoma child has been diagnosed with a polio-like illness that is sweeping the country. Maryland's first case was reported September 21.

The rare AFM condition mostly presents in children but so far a cause or consistent patient pathogen has alluded doctors. It can follow a viral infection, but environmental and genetic factors may also contribute to its development.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says similar waves of the same illness occurred in 2014 and 2016. This confirmation may take weeks.

Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.

The disease affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter. Nor can they explain why only a handful of infected children developed AFM.

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