CDC: ‘Mystery Disease’ Sickening Kids In 22 States, Including New Jersey

Cases of Mysterious Paralyzing Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Reported in 22 states

Cases of Mysterious Paralyzing Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Reported in 22 states

Health officials call the condition acute flaccid myelitis.

The condition remains very rare.

The cases this year seem to be spread across much of the country, as were the earlier two waves. No one knows what causes AFM, although a virus or viruses are suspected. "The hallmark is sudden onset of weakness in the arms or the legs".

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Less than one in one million people in the USA get AFM each year, but the cases are spiking over the last few weeks. It affects mostly children.

Now 3 years old, Hunter has slowly recovered.

The average age of the children is about 4, and 90 percent of the cases involve children 18 and younger, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told NPR in a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday.

The CDC has confirmed 62 cases of AFM in 22 states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The mystery disease may be caused by an enterovirus or rhinovirus, but these viruses have been found only in a few patients, which does not explain the increased number of cases at the end of summer. "And we can't always detect them in each individual patient for a variety of reasons". This year's AFM outbreak is gaining attention because there are 127 suspected cases so far. But that bug - enterovirus D68 - could not be definitively linked to the illnesses.

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Physicians first began noticing an increase in AFM patients in 2014, with roughly 120 confirmed cases.

Danielle Finkle, a mother from IL who was interviewed, said about her son: "He came to me and he's supporting his left arm with his right arm, and he says, 'Mommy my arm's broke'".

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is warning about a rare mysterious illness affecting American children, which can cause "polio-like" symptoms.

The outlook for patients with AFM can vary from a quick recovery to ongoing paralysis, Messonnier said. The CDC knows of one child who died with the disorder in 2017. There is no specific treatment or cure for the illness.

Katy Payne, a mother from IL, who was interviewed, said about her daughter: "I took her to the ER because she turned blue".

Health officials do not know what's causing the increasing number of cases of AFM.

She encouraged parents to wash their children's hands, use insect repellents and update vaccinations.

Acute flaccid myelitis(AFM) affects the gray matterin the spinal cord, causing sudden muscle weakness and a loss of reflexes. The CDC emphasized that none of the children who developed these symptoms had the polio virus. Some merely have difficulty moving the eye or the face; some have a single weakening limb.

How can AFM be treated?

PHAC is monitoring CDC updates, however, "We haven't found anything in Canada yet", said Dr. Tim Booth, director of the viral diseases division of Canada's National Microbiology Lab.

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