CDC, partners probe 127 polio-like cases in 22 states

Lynette PayneOct 18, 2018

A polio-like illness that can cause paralysis in children is now here in the Carolinas.

In a press briefing Tuesday, officials talked about an increase in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) this year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 62 cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare, polio-like condition that causes weakness in the arms or legs, across 22 states.

The federal agency said similar waves of the illness occurred in 2014 and 2016. CDC has tested many different specimens from patients with this condition for a wide variety of pathogens, or germs, that can cause AFM.

"It attacked [my child's] body and her spinal cord a certain way that seems to be happening to other kids too", said Josh Payne, the parent of a child battling AFM.

Other countries have reported AFM cases, but not the same seasonal pattern the United States has experienced.

The Department of Public Health has confirmed the second MA case this year of a rare but potentially devastating illness that strikes mostly children and causes muscle weakness or paralysis.

The suspected case in Douglas County is still under investigation and confirmation of the diagnosis could take up the three weeks. The CDC doesn't know what caused the spikes.

Of the 127 cases, about 90 percent are people under the age of 18, Reuters reported.

Extremely. According to the CDC, there were 38 confirmed cases in 16 states this year through September 30.

Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 362 cases.

This disease is like a "hit-and-run", Gupta said, and "you don't have evidence of the virus but you do have evidence of the aftermath so it's hard to piece together". "We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care", Messonnier said.

"Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause", Messonnier said, dispelling reports that AFM was possibly linked to polio. Numbers dropped drastically in 2015 and 2017 - to 22 and 33, respectively - but were back up again in 2016 at 149. CDC experts say the overall rate of AFM is about one in a one million. "As a parent myself, I understand what it's like to be scared for your child", she said. Some children paralyzed by AFM have eventually regained their ability to walk, but need time.

"It's a bit of a medical mystery", he said.

On Monday, CNN reached out to health departments in every state and received responses from 48 states plus the District of Columbia.

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