CDC Confirms Case Of Rare, Polio-Like Disease In Oklahoma

CDC Confirms Case Of Rare Polio Like Disease In Oklahoma

CDC Confirms Case Of Rare Polio Like Disease In Oklahoma

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 62 cases of a polio-like illness that causes weakness in the legs and arms. They say they are investigating several potential causes, including environmental toxins. Fall 2018 represents the third surge of AFM cases, which seem to spike in late summer and early fall, as Buzzfeed notes.

A mysterious illness that's sickening and even paralyzing children is prompting warnings this week from federal health officials to seek medical care immediately should anyone develop its symptoms. The condition affects the nervous system and has polio-like symptoms.

About 90 percent of the cases are children who have suffered muscle weakness or paralysis.

"We need to pay attention to this, because the long-term consequences the children and their parents suffer is huge", said Dr. Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, a neurological disease expert with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

"When these illnesses occur, it often means that the spread of the virus, the transmission of the virus, in the community is quite widespread and there probably are many persons, many children, affected just like when the flu comes to the community", Modlin said.

Because officials don't know the cause of AFM, they can't recommend a specific way to prevent it.

The cause of most of the AFM incidents is unknown, according to the CDC, as are the long-term effects.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM, and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness". No pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

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"This is a pretty dramatic disease", Messonnier said.

After testing patients' stool specimens, the CDC determined poliovirus is not the cause of the AFM cases.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the disease, one parent posted that her daughter was diagnosed with AFM four years ago after catching enterovirus.

"As we work to better understand what is causing AFM, parents can help protect their children from serious diseases by following prevention steps like washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended immunizations and using insect repellent", Messonnier said. The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure, which can happen when the muscles needed to breathe become weak from the disease.

The CDC says there are preventative measures people can take to reduce the risk of infections that could lead to AFM.

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

Faircloth said she wants other parents to be aware. She noted the confirmed cases are in 22 states.

But some state health departments have been making public their reported cases. So far, it's been reported in 22 states.

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