Rare polio-like disease is spreading — CDC

Leslie Hanson
October 23, 2018

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported a spike in AFM, with more than 60 cases confirmed in 22 U.S. states in the last several weeks.

The CDC said it also is testing specimens, including stool, blood and cerebrospinal fluid, from suspected AFM cases and working with healthcare providers, health departments, policymakers, the public and other partners to gather information on the condition. "We have not confirmed the cause for the majority of these cases", the agency said.

That's an increase of 28 cases in a matter of days.

"I can confirm that since September, we have certainly seen an increase of patients with muscle weakness who also had a preceding viral illness", Dr. Jeremy Friedman, associate pediatrician-in-chief at the Hospital for Sick Children, told CBC.

HuffPost Canada has reached out to the Canadian Paediatric Society for comment. West Nile Virus (which can cause paralysis) also hasn't been linked to any of the recent cases, CDC said. "There isn't a consistent cause, and we don't understand the whole physiology behind it at this point".

ipolonina/Getty Images The average age of those affected by AFM in the U.S.is four years old.

It's unknown whether the paralysis will get better or remain the same. Her mother Ayesha says it started off as a high fever and cold symptoms, but it quickly escalated into sudden onset paralysis on both sides of Alice's body.

Known as acute flaccid myelitis, the condition causes muscle weakness in one or more limbs, and typically occurs after some kind of viral infection.

AFM is quite rare, but parents should be aware of the signs, CDC said. Symptoms include facial droop, difficulty moving the eyes, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing. In an email to doctors last week, the hospital said the children they've seen have had weakness in their arms or legs, and some have had to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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