Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Multiple cases of rare polio-like illness under investigation in North Carolina

Multiple cases of rare polio-like illness under investigation in North Carolina

Mark Hicar, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, S.U.N.Y., has treated two children with AFM, one in 2014 and one this year.

US health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children, and said it seems to be following an every-other-year pattern.

The average age of patients with confirmed cases of AFM is 4 years old, according to the CDC. In other cases, patients remain paralyzed.

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014.

Experts say the early symptoms of the disease include arm or leg weakness, and loss of muscle tone. Symptoms also can include facial droop and weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids or difficulty swallowing and slurred speech. The CDC would not release a list of the states reporting probable or confirmed cases.

Today (Oct. 16), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it had received reports of 127 cases of people with the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), in 2018. Authorities say they are still awaiting confirmed lab results from the CDC. It mostly afflicts children and young adults and can be caused by toxins in one's environment, genetic disorders or viruses such as poliovirus, West Nile virus or adenovirus. Numbers dropped drastically in 2015 and 2017 - to 22 and 33, respectively - but were back up again in 2016 at 149.

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.

It is "a pretty dramatic disease", but fortunately most kids recover, Messonnier said.

"We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly, and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care, " she said, according to NPR.

There have been 386 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the U.S. since 2014. The CDC has stressed that the number
CDC There have been 386 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the U.S. since 2014. The CDC has stressed that the number of cases is rising

Messonnier said that the CDC has neither a clear idea of who might be at higher risk of developing the disease nor why.

There are six cases of acute flaccid myelitis in Pittsburgh.

So far, AFM has affected fewer than one in a million people in the United States each year.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM", Messonnier told NPR in a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday.

Boston Children's Hospital has evaluated all of the confirmed and suspected AFM cases that occurred in MA this year.

Massachusetts General Neurology Department Director Dr. Marcelo Matiello urged parents who see any of these symptoms to get their children to a neurologist without hesitation.

The Wisconsin Department of Health recommends frequently washing your hands, staying up to date on vaccinations and to stay home when sick. He can hit them with an electric shock akin to touching a auto battery, he says, but they do not move.

"We know this can be frightening for parents", said Dr. NancyMessonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Dodgers don't want to waste any time dispatching Brewers
In June 2014, Machado ran into Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was attempting to tag him. causing both benches to clear. This allowed Counsell to get a lefty-lefty matchup to begin the game and still start Miley in Game 6 on Friday.

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