CDC Investigates Cases Of Rare Neurological 'Mystery Illness' In Kids

by Noah Mcgee October 18, 2018, 1:57
CDC Investigates Cases Of Rare Neurological 'Mystery Illness' In Kids

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM, and I'm frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness".

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

This year, more than half of all U.S. states have had confirmed or possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis, the polio-like illness that can cause paralysis and mostly affects children, according to an exclusive CNN analysis.

The agency also said it will post case count updates on its website every week now, a change from the monthly updates it had been giving.

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases". It involves clinical observation and then generally an MRI and somebody has to read the MRI and look for the gray matter in the spinal cord after that.

A mysterious illness that's sickening and even paralyzing children is prompting warnings this week from federal health officials to seek medical care immediately should anyone develop its symptoms.

From August 2014 through September 2018, the CDC received information on a total of 386 confirmed cases of AFM across the country.

Of the cases announced Tuesday, 62 have been confirmed in 22 states, according to Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the CDC.

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The other case of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, occurred in August, and four others are under investigation in MA. The CDC actually doesn't know what causes the disease or much about it at all.

More than 90 percent of cases are in children. The CDC is now investigating a potential case of AFM in New Hampshire, an official said Wednesday. Numbers dropped drastically in 2015 and 2017 - to 22 and 33, respectively - but were back up again in 2016 at 149.

In addition to viruses, potential causes may include environmental toxins and genetic disorders, according to the CDC, and it "can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases". Fewer than one in a million get the disease.

Kate Fowlie, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said in an email that many states are voluntarily reporting their data on the disease and that "many parents are coming forward to tell their stories".

In 2014, a large AFM epidemic coincided with a national outbreak of severe respiratory illness caused by enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), but in-depth testing of patient samples hasn't consistently found a common cause.

About 120 confirmed cases were reported in 2014.

"As a parent myself, I understand what it is like to be scared for your child".

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