Acute Flaccid Myelitis: A mystery disease, this time in the US

CDC Investigating More Cases of Polio Like Syndrome			Pexels		23 Oct 2018

CDC Investigating More Cases of Polio Like Syndrome Pexels 23 Oct 2018

The CDC is tracking 155 cases in 22 states this year, most of which are still unconfirmed. As of mid-October, the CDC says 62 people, including 3 Georgians, have been diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

CBC News has learned that three cases of a rare, polio-like disease have presented at the London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) Children's Hospital since early September.

State officials say it will be several weeks before testing from the Centers for Disease Control will be able to confirm the cases are AFM.

The CDC says the number of patients under investigation is up from 127 patients a week ago. Many are calling AFM a "polio-like" illness, because it causes weakness and paralysis in childrens' arms and legs.

"Until you actually identify the virus or whatever microbial agent it is with a laboratory confirmation test you can not be 100 percent certain", he said.

Doctors and researchers don't know how or why AFM shows up in children or why cases occur in the late summer and fall. While potential causes may include certain viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC says, "AFM can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases".

"If we don't know what causes it, we don't know how to treat it", Dr. Vogel said.

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"What happens is that with time you build immunity", said Christenson.

Rohde agreed that the agent is likely an enterovirus, adenovirus or other respiratory agent that causes AFM.

Bhargava says parents should aware of the symptoms, but not overly concerned.

"(There are) four people that have signs of muscle inflammation, weakness or paralysis in certain areas", Wells told WWJ's Dr. Deanna Lites on Tuesday.

The Atlanta-based health agency is investigating into 65 additional possible cases. Environmental toxins or a condition where the body's immune system attacks and destroys body tissue, could also be factors. "And, if your children develop weakness in their arms or their legs, especially if they've had a cold, take them to their doctor immediately".

"Make sure you keep your children up to date on their vaccines", he said.

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