March 20, 2019

Arizona health officials confirm 2 cases of rare illness paralyzing kids

19 October 2018, 08:13 | Randall Craig

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

Cases of Mysterious Paralyzing Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Reported in 22 states

About 90 percent of the cases have involved paralysis, according to the CDC. It can start with a fever and respiratory illness; then the sick child suddenly loses the ability to move an arm or leg.

"We have not been able to find a cause for the majority of these AFM cases", she said. Tyler thinks the virus, called enterovirus D68, has changed since it was first identified in 1962, becoming more risky.

The number of confirmed cases reported to date is similar to levels reported in the fall of 2014 and 2016. AFM is extremely rare, but if your child shows any symptoms, take them to a doctor immediately.

Some victims have been infected with viruses, but researchers have been unable to identify a single virus responsible for all cases. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to conclude that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

Messonnier said that the CDC has neither a clear idea of who might be at higher risk of developing the disease nor why. In addition, officials do not yet know the long-term effects of AFM.

The rare but serious disorder affects a person's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord. They say they are investigating several potential causes, including environmental toxins.

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that a case from the summer has now been classified as AFM.

NBC News had done its own unofficial survey of state health officials and found 87 confirmed or suspected cases in 26 states.

Messonnier said it was important for parents and clinicians to remember that this is a rare condition, affecting less than one in 1 million children under 18.

"She tells me, 'Mommy, I want to get down, ' or 'Hold me.' I can't", Faircloth said. So while it is a scary condition, it is also extremely rare and affects less than one in every million people in the U.S. - even with the spike in cases. That makes 2018 look like it might end up being a year with more cases than usual, the CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonnier told reporters. "Right now we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases", she said.

In some individuals, health officials have determined that the condition was from infection with a type of virus that causes severe respiratory illness.

Most of these patients are children. There was one confirmed death previous year, the CDC said on Tuesday. Neurologists may suggest treatments on a case-by-case basis, and doctors can recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness. Yet, experts still do not understand crucial aspects of the disease, including its origins and who is most at risk.

Parents should seek immediate medical care for kids exhibiting AFM symptoms, Messonnier said at the press conference, according to STAT. One death of a child diagnosed with AFM occurred in 2017. "You don't need an terrible lot of paralyzed children to make this an important problem".

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