Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Cases of Polio-Like Illness Are Under Investigation: CDC

MGN Online MGN Online
Celia Hoffman | 23 October, 2018, 14:27

Acute flaccid paralysis, also known as acute flaccid myelitis, is experiencing a small surge in the US, where more than 60 cases have been confirmed in recent weeks.

AFM cases on the rise in the U.S. Story continues below video.

Last week, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said 90 percent of the cases involved children 18 years old or younger with an average age of 4 years old, and no deaths related to the condition have been reported this year.

"But that said, because we are seeing quite a few more cases than we would normally see, we certainly want our colleagues.to be aware of what to look for", he said of other practitioners and hospitals.

On Monday, CBC's "White Coat, Black Art" reported that doctors in Toronto have also seen an increase in suspected similar cases.

HuffPost Canada has reached out to the Canadian Paediatric Society for comment. West Nile Virus (which can cause paralysis) also hasn't been linked to any of the recent cases, CDC said.

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"CDC has been actively investigating AFM, testing specimens and monitoring disease since 2014, when we first saw an increase in cases", Messonnier told reporters last week.

At least 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year, and at least 65 additional illnesses in those states are being investigated, according to the CDC.

Known as acute flaccid myelitis, the condition causes muscle weakness in one or more limbs, and typically occurs after some kind of viral infection.

While it's speculative, many doctors believe those who develop AFM may have an underlying genetic predisposition to the condition. "We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care".

Venkateswaran said parents should seek medical help if their child is experiencing a sudden weakness in any part of the body, a sudden loss of bowl or bladder control, or neck pain.

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