Friday, 16 November, 2018

CDC investigating 155 cases of rare, polio-like neurological condition

Acute Flaccid Myelitis, Which Causes Paralysis In Kids, Reported In Canada 4 Ohio children afflicted with mysterious illness
Johnnie Parks | 25 October, 2018, 03:15

The 2018 outbreak isn't as large as the number of confirmed cases in 2016, with 149 cases confirmed that year. The cause of the illness is not known; it causes sudden onset of muscle weakness and even paralysis.

"There are some abnormal changes in the spine that have been identified with other patients and you would need that evidence to actually have a confirmed case", Dr. Taylor said.

But the real problem (other than the fact that the majority of those affected by AFM have been children) is figuring out what's causing this rare condition. "AFM can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases".

The CDC announced this week that there have been 62 confirmed cases in 22 states, with OH being one of them.

"This is a mystery so far, and we haven't solved it yet, so we have to be thinking broadly", Messonnier said. All of the cases, the two confirmed and five suspected, are in children.

"Back at its peak for every 100 to 1,000 people we saw infected with polio, we saw somebody paralyzed", Greenberg told NBC News. "What the physician will do is rule out other causes rule out other things that might be causing it".

The disease affects a part of the spinal cord called the anterior horn, which helps control movement.

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Most of the AFM cases that the CDC has studied have no indication of any particular infection.

Viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders may play a role, CDC noted.

Messonnier said other viruses besides EV-D68 have been found in patients with AFM.

All four of her children had come down with a cold at the same time, but young Abigail's condition continued to worsen despite her mother's best efforts to keep her kids healthy. In the past, an oral polio vaccine could cause a polio-like syndrome in some people, but that vaccine has not been available in the USA since 2000 and the last known case in the US was in an infant with other health problems who was vaccinated in India, brought to the USA and died in 2013, the CDC says. "That's something that we're still really learning about", Jones said.

Just about any virus can cause neuroinvasive disease, but they rarely ever do. When it infects pregnant women, the Zika virus can go into the brains of the developing fetuses and cause permanent damage.

To protect against contracting AFM, the CDC recommends that people stay up to date on their vaccines, wash their hands, and protect against mosquito bites.

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