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CDC confirms 62 cases of rare, polio-like neurological condition

18 October 2018

Since 2014, there have been 386 confirmed AFM cases, overwhelmingly in patients under the age of 18.

Doctors tell us the illness mostly affects children and can cause paralysis.

Some possible causes being investigated by the CDC include enteroviruses, which affect the digestive system, and rhinoviruses - the infectious agents associated with the common cold. Officials say this is not considered a public health threat, so they will not release which part of the state the case was confirmed in, or any other details.

The CDC began tracking the condition in 2014, when there were 120 confirmed cases. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years. But the data reported Tuesday represents "a substantially larger number than in previous months this year", Messonnier said. Experts don't know the long-term effects of the disease. It involves clinical observation and then generally an MRI and somebody has to read the MRI and look for the gray matter in the spinal cord after that.

Health officials do not know what's causing the increasing number of cases of AFM. Maryland's first case was reported September 21.

No known cases have been reported in Virginia or the District this year, but there were three confirmed cases in Virginia in 2016, health department officials said.

"My husband that noticed her arm was kind of just hanging there", her mother, Carlene, said.

AFM is extremely rare, according to CBS, and the CDC estimates that less than one in a million people in the US will get it every year.

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I enjoy coming to work every day it's the best. "Definitely, just meeting them was pretty special", he said. "It's been unbelievably tough".

Dr. Messonnier said, "We want to encourage parents to seek medical care right away if you or your child develops symptoms of AFM, such as sudden weakness and loss of muscle tone in your arms or legs". AFM could experience a similar fate before it ever becomes a major emergency, if a virus can be identified. Those officials are probing another 65 illnesses in those states.

No cases of polio have originated in the U.S. since 1979, while in Australia, the last case of the disease caused by a locally acquired virus was in 1972.

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

"We see it peaking every two years", he said in an interview Wednesday.

Last year, one child died of the disease.

The agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk for developing this condition or the reasons they may be at higher risk. "None of the specimens have tested positive for poliovirus". To help prevent the illness' spread, the CDC advises proper hand washing, staying up to date on vaccines and using mosquito repellent to avoid bites.

Like other neurological diseases, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, physical therapy or occupational therapy are the only treatment options for people with AFM.

The overall rate of AFM is fewer than one in a million, she said.

CDC confirms 62 cases of rare, polio-like neurological condition