CDC: Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Have Peaked for 2018

CDC: Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Have Peaked for 2018

CDC: Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Have Peaked for 2018

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced there have been 286 total cases of acute flaccid myelitis (also known as AFM) across the United States previous year. Most of the children with confirmed cases experienced a viral illness with symptoms including fever and cough about three to 10 days before the onset of paralysis, the CDC said this month. In the report released today, the CDC notes that 18 new cases were confirmed in the last week, but the majority of these occurred between September and October, which is a positive sign.

Even though I am a physician who knows the hard facts about illness and deals with them on a daily basis, I still worry irrationally about a mystery illness striking my children suddenly and robbing them of their health and strength and threatening their lives. The CDC has established a new task force which is meeting in Atlanta this week to study the condition and come up with fresh leads on the factors behind it and how to treat it.

"Based on the number of reported cases of AFM in the United States through November 30, 2018, it appears that the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) for AFM has peaked and will continue to decline for the remainder of 2018", the CDC wrote.

Competing theories have emerged about what triggers AFM.

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The mysterious illness is thought to be related to infection with a common type of virus called an enterovirus. Additionally there are 165 patients under probe as probably having AFM as the illness is familiar. Some enteroviruses are known to attack the spinal cord.

Without clear guidance, doctors are trying several different kinds of treatment. "CDC will continue to provide updates on the number of confirmed cases of AFM", the agency said. In its weekly apprised on cases of the ailment the agency said there have been 134 chronic cases in 33 states this year. There were 120 in 2014, 22 in 2015, 149 in 2016, and 33 in 2017.

The CDC noted on its AFM surveillance website that almost all patients had "mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection" prior to developing acute flaccid myelitis, and that most AFM cases are children.

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