Spike reported nationwide in cases of baffling paralysis in children

Case Of Polio-Like Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed In Mass.

Case Of Polio-Like Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed In Mass.

Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, is rare, but the Centers for Disease Control said it has become more common recently.

Cases similar to Tunan's son are spreading to children around the age of four nationwide.

The long-term effects of the disease are also unknown. It affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

The CDC said the condition isn't new, "but the increase in cases we saw starting in 2014 is new". One child died from AFM in 2017. Officials have been unable to determine why the spikes are coming in waves.

Rathore said since its unclear what causes AFM, there is no treatment - it has to take its course on its own. Another kind of virus was found in only some of the cases.

The peculiar illness causes weakness in the limbs, loss of muscle tone, and may also result in neck pain, headache, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and in the worst of cases, respiratory failure. The first case in Maryland this year was contracted September 21, a spokeswoman for the department said in an email.

The CDC is actively investigating the cases and working with healthcare providers as well as state and local health departments to spread the word about AFM.

CDC is not releasing a list of the 22 states with confirmed and suspected cases because of privacy issues. Officials said it's too early to know whether the total for 2018 will surpass those previous years.

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"There is a lot we don't know about AFM", Messonnier said during a teleconference for reporters.

Parents and clinicians should remember that this is a rare condition, affecting less than one in a million people, she said. "We just don't know enough". Some possible suspects, such as polio and West Nile virus, have been ruled out.

She said the CDC and research partners are casting a wide net trying to figure out what is causing the rise in cases, suggesting scientists have been looking at a variety of viruses and even environmental toxins in their search.

But the agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk nor why they may be at higher risk.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but treatments that have been tried include immunoglobulin replacement therapy, corticosteroids, plasma exchange and antiviral therapy, according to the National Institutes of Health. But so far, no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

The CDC is investigating the cases and monitoring the disease, and encourages people to prevent the disease by staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites.

Here is what is known about the disease that has had 127 confirmed or suspected cases in 22 states as of Tuesday, including Pennsylvania.

On Monday, CNN reached out to health departments in every state and received responses from 48 states plus the District of Columbia. States are not required to provide this information to CDC, but they have been voluntarily reporting their data.

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