Oklahoma, Arkansas officials investigate polio-like illness

Five kids in Maryland may have a polio-like disease, as CDC investigates

CDC Investigates Cases Of Rare Neurological 'Mystery Illness' In Kids

The CDC is not ruling out any possible triggers-from infections to toxins, autoimmune reactions to bug bites. From August 2014 through September 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received information on a total of 386 confirmed cases of AFM across the USA; most of the cases have occurred in children. One child who contracted AFM - which affects the nervous system via the spinal cord - died previous year. Earlier this year, he presented data from 44 patients with AFM.

WFTV reported that the child's mother, Reba Faircloth, said her daughter started showing illness symptoms Thursday and has been in the Intensive Care Unit since Sunday. Tyler thinks the virus, called enterovirus D68, has changed since it was first identified in 1962, becoming more risky. Doctors have tested AFM sufferers for poliovirus but the results came back negative. Here's what puzzles health officials about AFM: The cause is still unknown. Environmental agents, viruses and other pathogens are still being considered. "But a lot of kids are left with residual weakness, which can be from mild weakness in one arm or leg, or in some cases it can be severe to where they're unable to walk". The CDC does not believe that the growing awareness of the rare disease is contributing to the increase in cases. Such outbreaks have arrived every 2 years since 2014, and the CDC's current tally includes almost 400 confirmed cases over the past 4 years.

Has anyone died from AFM?

As pediatrician Ashanti Woods said, it behaves more like polio.

"We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk", she said.

Most patients who get the polio-like condition are children and as we enter the cold and flu season, AFM is one more thing for parents to watch out for. "Still, CDC estimates that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year".

Mitchel Seruya, a surgeon at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, says when he has operated on children with AFM, he has been amazed by how unresponsive their affected nerves are.

'Or if it's closer to the neck, they they can't move head, neck and shoulders.

One of those patients lives in Indiana. But treatments for the infection itself remain elusive.

More information about AFM is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both were boys-one age six, one three; each had a common cold-like illness and spiked a fever about a day before they stopped using one leg. "It can also be in the face, that kind of develops quickly over hours or days", said Mayo Clinic Chair of Infectious Diseases Elie Berbari. Those with inflammation caused by an immune response tend to do better, because steroids can calm the inflammation.

'There is no evidence vaccines are causing this, ' said Dr Acosta.

In 1957, the U.S. government approved the polio vaccine.

AFM is an extremely rare condition that causes muscles and reflexes to become weak. But other neurological conditions, including Transverse Myelitis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and West Nile virus infection, also cause lesions on the spinal cord, making it hard for physicians to make a quick and definite diagnosis. Five other children in our state are being tested for it.

'Even if they have sudden onset of weakness, AFM is unlikely to have caused it. There have now been a total of 386 confirmed cases since 2014. The increase in the number of cases was first recorded in 2014, after which the regulator began collecting statistics on this disease.

Previously, the agency had reported that there were 38 confirmed cases of the mysterious virus in 16 states.

Priya Duggal, a genetic epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who is studying whether some patients may have a genetic vulnerability to the virus, told Science that AFM is "pretty rare, but it's pretty devastating". "It's an outbreak of a disease with known symptoms and complications but unknown causes or routes of transmission".

That was certainly true in Sarah Pilarowski's family. "A respiratory illness or a viral illness and then it's the development of a sudden weakness", said Berbari. When Lydia was not strong enough to hold an ear of corn in her left hand, Pilarowski got anxious. Doctors may also recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness.

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