Local doctors: Chances of AFM extremely low, despite rising number of cases

The CDC is investigating the outbreak

The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases.

State and national health authorities are raising the alarm about a polio-like "mystery illness" that has left dozens of children with paralysis and other symptoms in MA and 21 other states.

The condition is not new, but the CDC said it saw an increase in cases beginning in 2014.

A risky and rare disease that's similar to the polio virus is on the rise in the USA, and it has health officials baffled.

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. Though AFM has not claimed any lives this year, there was one death in 2017. 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.

Researchers are looking into a number of possible causes from viruses to genetic disorders to environmental toxins.

The Ohio Department of Health says it can not release information about suspected cases, or where the disease was reported.

States are reporting their cases to the CDC, Messonnier said.

The experts emphasized that even though AFM is regularly passing through the United States, it remains a rare illness.

"If you see that in your child, it's important to get them to a health provider right away", she said.


The CDC is not sure why there was a rise in cases of AFM in 2014.

"While some patients have recovered rapidly, others have remain paralyzed and require a high level of ongoing care to support their breathing and monitor for neurological deterioration", he said.

Another potential cause of AFM is a type of enterovirus called EV D68, Todd said.

"I am frustrated that despite all our efforts we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness", Messonnier said.

Health officials call the condition acute flaccid myelitis.

Officials at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City said two cases of AFM have been confirmed at the hospital. He can hit them with an electric shock akin to touching a auto battery, he says, but they do not move.

Doctors diagnose AFM based on a combination of the patient's symptoms and an MRI scan. No pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

She recommended that parents take routine protections against viral infections, such as keeping up to date on immunizations, washing hands, and avoiding mosquito bites.

Kerkering said AFM is most common in children.

How can AFM be treated?

"So we're very lucky that he had (physical therapy) through early intervention". More studies that include a larger proportion of confirmed cases are needed to better understand long-term outcomes, she said.

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