Possible case of AFM in Douglas County

An electron micrograph of a thin section of EV-D68 a rare enterovirus.									Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Yiting Zhang  CDC

Parents in the metro are on guard after officials with the Douglas County Health Department revealed that there is a child in Douglas County possibly showing symptoms of a rare polio-like condition called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM. So far this year, there have been 62 confirmed cases in 22 states.

"We understand that people, particularly parents, are concerned about AFM", said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, according to the Washington Post.

Acute flaccid myelitis, also called AFM, is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system and causes the muscles and reflexes to suddenly become weak, she said Tuesday.

Doctors say that most of the reported cases of AFM involve those under the age of 18.

The states reporting confirmed cases are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. Those officials are probing another 65 illnesses in those states.

State and national health authorities are raising the alarm about a polio-like "mystery illness" that has left dozens of children with paralysis and other symptoms in MA and 21 other states.




AFM outbreaks appear to follow a pattern, according to the CDC report, with a spike in cases coming every two years in the late summer and early fall. "Children can also have trouble swallowing, trouble with their speech, facial droop, trouble with their eye muscles".

The CDC is investigating 127 reported cases, including the ones that have been confirmed.

"It attacked [my child's] body and her spinal cord a certain way that seems to be happening to other kids too", said Josh Payne, the parent of a child battling AFM.

The condition is not new, but officials started to see a rise in cases in 2014; and there was another spike in 2016. Since 2014, 386 cases have been confirmed, the CDC said on Tuesday. There was one death of a child who had AFM, in 2017, said Messonnier. The CDC actually doesn't know what causes the disease or much about it at all. But she stressed that despite the increase in cases, the illness is still very rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in a million people in the US each year. "So I think that should be reassuring to people", Dominguez said.

In total, CNN found 47 confirmed cases and 49 more that were suspected or being investigated, for a total of 96.

Now 3 years old, Hunter has slowly recovered. She noted the confirmed cases are in 22 states.

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