Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Two Mass. children contracted rare muscle-weakness syndrome this year, officials say

An electron micrograph of a thin section of EV-D68 a rare enterovirus.									Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Yiting Zhang  CDC An electron micrograph of a thin section of EV-D68 a rare enterovirus. Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Yiting Zhang CDC
Johnnie Parks | 18 October, 2018, 00:26

At least 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year, and at least 65 additional illnesses in those states are being investigated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

There is now no cure for AFM, known cause in most cases, or clear explanation for why some people who contract the enterovirus experience symptoms and others do not.

The spikes were significantly higher in 2014, 2016 and 2018-to-date than in 2015 or 2017. On Saturday, Sputnik reported on the worrisome number of 38 cases of the unusual syndrome, which affects the spinal cord.

The agency has not yet confirmed whether the New Hampshire patient, a juvenile from Rockingham County, contracted AFM or if it is another illness, said Jake Leon, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

"Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases", Messonnier said. CDC experts say the overall rate of AFM is about one in a one million.

The long-term effects are not known, and outcomes have been different for patients, with some recovering quickly and others having lasting paralysis and requiring ongoing care. "I know many parents want to know what the signs and symptoms are that they should be looking for in their child". "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare even with the increase in cases we're seeing right now".

At this point, health officials are not sure what causes AFM but say that it can occur after a viral infection, West Nile Virus and other illnesses.

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Messonnier said the CDC has definitively ruled out polio - which causes a similar set of symptoms - as the cause.

Some patients diagnosed with AFM were found to have enterovirus D68, a cousin of poliovirus, in their systems. "For some of the previous cases we've identified one pathogen or another, but we have no unifying diagnosis".

The agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk for developing this condition or the reasons they may be at higher risk. CDC has tested every stool specimen from every AFM patient.

AFM appears to target children at around age 4.

There is no specific treatment for AFM. But, if their child is diagnosed, parents should prepare for extensive physical therapy - therapy that isn't always covered by insurance, he said.

The CDC is actively investigating and monitoring disease activity and recommends taking standard prevention measures such as hand-washing, protecting oneself from mosquito bites and staying up-to-date on vaccinations. It could be potentially deadly if the diaphragm is paralyzed because the child would be unable to breathe.

CDC is not releasing a list of the 22 states with confirmed and suspected cases because of privacy issues. A spokeswoman for hospital said they have notified the health department and are working with the CDC to learn more about the illness.

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