Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Polio-like AFM 'appears to have peaked' in United States for the year

Case of acute flaccid myelitis confirmed in North Dakota Cases of ‘polio-like’ illness that’s paralyzing children appears to have ‘peaked,’ CDC says
Celia Hoffman | 05 December, 2018, 22:53

Johns Hopkins researchers have analyzed patient data from 45 cases of what they thought was acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the polio-like outbreak occurring in US children, and realized that only 75 percent of diagnosed cases were AFM. Most of the children with confirmed cases experienced a viral illness with symptoms including fever and cough about three to 10 days before the onset of paralysis, the CDC said this month.

As AFM cases have surged in the fall - the third spike since 2014 - federal health officials and clinicians across the country have raced to understand the underlying cause of the disease. CDC noted that figure is up 18 confirmed cases from the previous week; however, the majority of the most recent confirmed cases occurred in September and October. The CDC has established a new task force which is meeting in Atlanta this week to study the condition and come up with fresh leads on the factors behind it and how to treat it. And the children with AFM had only had damage in the spinal cord's gray matter ¾ where the bodies of the nerve cells reside ¾ and not in the white matter-where the connections between nerve cells that send messages back and forth reside-or the brain like those cases with alternative diagnoses. But, a CDC statement said, "it appears that the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) for AFM has peaked and will continue to decline for the remainder of 2018".

Competing theories have emerged about what triggers AFM.

Without clear guidance, doctors are trying several different kinds of treatment. In 2016, the number shot back up to 149 confirmed cases, only to drop again in 2017 to 33 confirmed cases.

More news: Central European University is moving from Budapest to Vienna

In 2014, 120 cases were confirmed, and then by the next year, that number dropped rapidly to 22 cases.

The cause of AFM remains unknown, and advisors felt that the agency wasn't doing enough to share information with consumers on warning signs of the illness and other ways to protect children.

To address the outbreak, CDC expects states to continue report cases of AFM, and medical experts will continue to assess them and determine if they are confirmed.

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