Sunday, 18 November, 2018

CDC Confirms Rare Polio-Like Virus Acute Flaccid Myelitis in 22 States

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Marty Perkins | 18 October, 2018, 04:55

Nesemeier, of the N.D. Dept. of Health, says children are more at risk for respiratory viruses.

Since officials have been unable so far to determine how the disease spreads, they are starting to count suspected cases as well as confirmed to better anticipate increases over the coming months.

Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, mostly strikes children and affects the nervous system.

Some patients recover completely, while others continue to struggle with muscle weakness.

The CDC says it seems to be following an every other year pattern that emerges in the fall.

It's important for parents to know the symptoms so they can get their child immediate medical care and help doctors get a handle on the disease.

CDC There have been 386 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the USA since 2014.

Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms. PHAC is monitoring CDC updates, however, "We haven't found anything in Canada yet", said Dr. Tim Booth, director of the viral diseases division of Canada's National Microbiology Lab.

Federal health officials released the updated numbers on Tuesday, and said they still had no idea what was causing the spike in AFM cases or why kids were getting it in the first place. Polio, while once widespread, has been largely eradicated due to the polio vaccine. The CDC still has not pin-pointed exactly what's causing this disorder, but they suspect a virus that circulates this time of the year.




"We're looking really broadly at any possible cause", the CDC's Dr. Messonnier said, "so we're looking at anything that might be causing the AFM, because our earlier investigations haven't revealed the cause".

Victims generally suffer from muscle weakness and some paralysis of the face, neck, back, arms and legs. "Parents need to know that AFM is rare even with the increase in cases we are seeing now". "We don't fully understand the long-term consequences of AFM".

"Although all cases are tested to see if it is tied to the polio virus and all have been negative, polio is a known cause of AFM", Nesemeier said.

Some patients diagnosed with AFM were found to have enterovirus D68, a cousin of poliovirus, in their systems.

The number is almost double the amount observed in 2017, when 33 AFM cases were found in the US. To date, no pathogen has been consistently detected in AFM patients.

The Douglas County Health Department's Phil Rooney said, "This is not a diagnosis like flu or other diseases where you can do blood draw fluids".

"Numbness or tingling is rare in people with AFM, although some people have pain in their arms or legs".

At the press conference, Messonnier emphasized how rare the disease is.

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