The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 62 cases in 22 states this year.
At this point, doctors aren't sure how the viruses cause acute flaccid myelitis.
"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. "We have detected enterovirus in several of these individual cases". Polio was eradicated in the U.S.by vaccination.
"We're actually looking at everything". The CDC is aware of one death in 2017 in a child that had AFM, but no deaths related to the condition have been reported this year.
Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 362 cases. The pattern appears to be repeating this year.
That number is expected to increase with more cases being confirmed.
Federal health officials have issued an unusual warning about a growing number of cases of a polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM.
In some cases patients recover from the paralysis, but in others it continues.
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Since 2014, there have been 386 confirmed AFM cases, overwhelmingly in patients under the age of 18. The most severe symptom is respiratory failure. The once-healthy child now relies on a wheelchair to get around, a ventilator to breathe and a feeding tube to eat. Tyler thinks the virus, called enterovirus D68, has changed since it was first identified in 1962, becoming more unsafe.
But an outbreak of the syndrome now occurring in Colorado has been associated with enterovirus A71, a strain that is much more common in southeast Asia, said Dr. Samuel Dominguez, a pediatric infectious disease expert with Children's Hospital Colorado. Ninety percent of those affected are children.
"Nobody really knows treatment protocols, they don't know prognosis, and they can't really give parents an answer as to where this is coming from", she said. "There was nothing they could do for him, they just had to get the infection out of his body", Hoff said. It's possible that some patients had EV-D68, but were tested too late for the virus to show up in stool and respiratory samples, Science notes. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare even with the increase in cases we're seeing right now". AFM could experience a similar fate before it ever becomes a major emergency, if a virus can be identified.
"This is a pretty dramatic disease", Messonnier said. "These kids generally have a sudden onset of weakness", Messonnier said.
Many local cases have been treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
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.
What can you do to prevent AFM?