Rare Polio Like Illness Has Us Health Authorities On Alert

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

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a suspected case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis in New Hampshire.

Despite the CDC's efforts, the agency has not been able to identify the illness' cause, Messonnier said.

More than 120 confirmed or possible cases of the mysterious and rare condition have been documented so far this year, mostly since August, a top federal health official said Tuesday.

Health officials call the condition acute flaccid myelitis.

It is not "totally clear" what causes AFM, Benson explained. Those with spinal cord damage caused directly by the virus warrant different treatments and don't respond as well.

Because of the nature of the illness' symptoms and the area of the spinal cord it attacks, it is sometimes referred to as a polio-like disease.

About 90 percent of the cases are children who have suffered muscle weakness or paralysis, including in the face, neck, back or limbs. Muscles and reflexes are weakened, and some patients are left paralyzed. Ehresmann said Minnesota public health officials have linked their outbreak a virus, but haven't determined the exact name. The CDC has detected enterovirus in several individual cases.

Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 362 cases.

So far, the only detail being released about the patient is that he or she is an Oklahoma resident under 18-years-old.

Katy Payne, a mother from IL, who was interviewed, said about her daughter: "I took her to the ER because she turned blue". But the long-term effects are still unknown.

"They told us there was no cure". If they are having pain, we treat their pain.




A frustration has been trying to get insurance companies to cover the prolonged physical therapy required.

Why is it being described as polio-like?

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases". Kerkering said the typical season for the illness has just begun.

History: The CDC has no idea why there has been a spike in cases, though there have been similar spikes in 2014 and 2016, according to Fox News. "And it didn't feel rare during those clusters on a neurology ward, but in between those clusters, we really don't see this condition often at all".

It's a rare illness that seems to peak every other year since 2014.

What are the symptoms to watch for?

Rathore, the Jacksonville specialist, said he was not shocked at seeing a case this year.

But according to Dr. Keith Van Haren, "There's a likelihood it may be associated with other viruses".

There is also no official cause which means no definite form of treatment, something Roanoke mother Brittany Hoff knows too well after she said her son was diagnosed. "The only thing within people's control is good infection control".

The AFM virus does not gets spread as that of a common cold virus gets spread, due to sneezing or coughing.

"So other than kind of general precautions, there's not a lot to do", she said.

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