U.S. CDC confirms 62 cases of rare polio-like neurological condition

Leslie Hanson
October 18, 2018

And in very rare cases, AFM can trigger fatal neurological complications, according to the CDC.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, so far there has been one confirmed case in Ohio.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now 62 cases across 22 states this year. It affects mostly children. In some cases, patients recover quickly.

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

Follow-up with patients from the 2014 and 2016 waves has shown that most children do not recover from acute flaccid myelitis, for which there now is no cure.

"This is truly a mystery disease".

Fox 2/KPLR 11's Dan Gray talked to an infectious disease specialist who said the disease isn't new but should be considered a growing health concern. "However, we have not yet received lab results".


In September, Pardo-Villamizar and his colleagues published a follow-up of 16 patients stricken in 2016 that concluded that "the majority of children with AFM have limited motor recovery and continued disability".

"I think I would tell parents to be vigilant in looking out for, you know, arms or legs not working, that floppy head, those respiratory symptoms that don't seem consistent with other basic illnesses", she said. The CDC actually doesn't know what causes the disease or much about it at all.

The cause of the disorder has not yet been identified.

The CDC has tested many different specimens from patients with this condition for a wide variety of pathogens, or germs, that can cause AFM. But mysteriously no other country has reported the emerging every-two-years pattern seen in the U.S., Messonnier said. "We don't fully understand the long-term consequences of AFM". However, none of the US patients tested positive for polio, and, according to Dr. Messonnier, none of this year's cases have been linked to West Nile virus. And though enteroviruses have been detected in some paralysis cases, it hasn't been found in others, CDC officials say.

"Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause", Messonnier said, dispelling reports that AFM was possibly linked to polio.

So far the disease has claimed one life in the U.S. It is a rare, but serious condition - fewer than one in a million Americans will get AFM every year, the CDC estimates. "We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develops sudden weakness of the arms and legs", she 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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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