Rare polio-like disease is spreading — CDC

28 October, 2018, 07:43 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • Acute Flaccid Myelitis which causes paralysis has been reported in several children's hospitals in Eastern Canada

Acute flaccid myelitis is a term used to describe the sudden onset of weakness in one or more limbs.

The case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is one of four suspected ones in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Like most people diagnosed with the neurological condition that has been compared to polio, the Jacksonville patient is a child, a 3-year-old girl whose mother first noticed something amiss when her daughter collapsed while walking. But for other viruses, other types of bacteria that can cause an illness very similar to this, we do have ways of preventing them.

Many more cases have been reported, including three in Georgia. This year the CDC has reported 62 cases in 22 states.

The CDC reports the odds of contracting AFM are less than one in a million.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Health Department, said parents should be concerned, but the disease is incredibly rare.

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Prior to this year, IL has had 4 confirmed cases since 2014. Where did it comes from and how long have doctors known about it? The CDC says the cause could be a viral or triggered by an environmental toxin, or something else.

AFM has been compared to polio because it can lead to paralysis and possibly death, but polio and West Nile virus have been ruled out. "We should reflect on this as a moment to remember the function and importance of vaccinations".

AFM impacts "the area of spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak", the CDC says. If you have concerns that your child isn't looking or acting quite right, please check with your pediatrician.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to determine a cause. "Don't share drinks. Don't be around anyone who is sick".

What are the treatments for AFM and the prognosis for a vaccine? Supportive care is very important. Sometimes the condition has no known cause. "We know that some kids have great recovery and recover really quickly, and other kids continue to have a lot of weakness going forward, but we haven't determined what factors decide which kids fall into which category yet". The illness mainly strikes children.


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