Published: Sat, October 27, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

CDC: Rare polio-like disease is spreading

CDC: Rare polio-like disease is spreading

Still, CDC estimates that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year. As of mid-October, the CDC says 62 people, including 3 Georgians, have been diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM. It affects the nervous system, specifically the area of spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. In Georgia so far this year, there have been an estimated three confirmed, or probable, cases of AFM with two possible other cases under investigation, according to the state's Department of Public Health.

The average age of patients confirmed to have the condition is just 4 years old, and more than 90 percent of cases overall occur in children 18 and younger, according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the agency's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "It means you have established that it is plausible that a virus does behave in this way", he said.What's missing is the surveillance needed to show that outbreaks of EV-D68 were large enough to account for the increases in cases of AFM in 2016 and now in 2018, and that most patients with AFM were also infected with EV-D68.Test quickly to catch the virusThere's also a need to find out what other viruses might be causing cases.

The Department of Public Health officials said that AFM has been spreading since 2014. "And, if your children develop weakness in their arms or their legs, especially if they've had a cold, take them to their doctor immediately". We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk.

The condition can be caused by auto immune diseases or exposure to environmental toxins. He also said probably only the most severe cases are being reported.

Bhargava says parents should aware of the symptoms, but not overly concerned.

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After a few days, she noticed that Abigail's arm had gone limp and rushed her daughter to the hospital, where doctors initially drew blanks, she said, adding that at one point Abigail couldn't move below the neck. "When we talk about these things, it is really important to make sure we get it right".

"I wanted to be sure that she stayed out of daycare".

What are the treatments for AFM and the prognosis for a vaccine? "That's something that we're still really learning about", Jones said. And while some recover, others remain paralyzed.

Palacios says she wants answers to what causes AFM, and how to prevent and treat it - for Abigail, and for other families who have been affected by it.

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