CDC, partners probe 127 polio-like cases in 22 states

Modesto Morganelli
Ottobre 17, 2018

A spokeswoman for hospital said they have notified the health department and are working with the CDC to learn more about the illness.

Two cases of the disease - acute flaccid myelitis - have been confirmed in MA with another four cases under investigation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed frustration and concern Tuesday about a puzzling surge in cases of polio-like paralysis, mostly in children, being reported across the country this year.

"We understand that people, particularly parents, are concerned about AFM", she said. AFM could experience a similar fate before it ever becomes a major emergency, if a virus can be identified. She said that most AFM cases occur in the late summer and fall.

US health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children, and said it seems to be following an every-other-year pattern.

And for now, it's hard to say if 2018 will equal or surpass spikes seen in 2014 and 2016, Messonnier said, adding that state and federal health officials haven't finished the whole diagnostic algorithm for numerous cases reported over the past several weeks.

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

More than 90 percent of cases are in children.

The long-term effects are not known, and outcomes have been different for patients, with some recovering quickly and others having lasting paralysis and requiring ongoing care.

The following year, there were 22 confirmed cases in 17 states, and 2016 saw 149 cases in 39 jurisdictions, including D.C. In 2017 there were 33 confirmed cases in 16 states. CDC experts say the overall rate of AFM is about one in a one million.

There were 120 cases in 2014 when the disease was first detected in the United States. "Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases". None have tested positive for poliovirus.

Since officials have been unable so far to determine how the disease spreads, they are starting to count suspected cases as well as confirmed to better anticipate increases over the coming months.

It's called acute-flaccid myelitis, or AFM. Messonnier said West Nile virus, which had been listed as a possible cause on CDC's website, is also not causing the illnesses.

"We know this can be frightening for parents", Messonnier said.

"As a parent myself I understand what it's like to be scared for your child", Messonnier said.

The CDC encourages people to prevent the disease by staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites.

Experts say the early symptoms of the disease include arm or leg weakness, and loss of muscle tone.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education.

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