Published: Sun, October 28, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

155 cases of polio-like illness now under investigation, CDC says

155 cases of polio-like illness now under investigation, CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported 155 cases of acute flaccid myelitis under investigation.

The 50-year old is one of four patients that are suspected of having acute flaccid myelitis or AFM, a disease that affects the spinal cord and weakens a person's limbs.

At least 62 other cases of AFM have been confirmed in 22 states this year, the Associated Press reported earlier this month.

The health agency says it "received information on a total of 386 confirmed cases of AFM", which mainly involved kids, in the USA from August 2014 through September 2018.

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The Middlesex-London Health Unit says there have been no reports of AFM in London or Middlesex County, which means the patients would likely have come from other public health jurisdictions. The disease would paralyze the arms or legs of a person's body. However, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says that it is now hard to interpret AFM trends as data collection is new and mostly voluntary. Midwest states make up 40 percent of all confirmed cases including IL with 10 confirmed cases.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM", including the cause in a majority of cases, Messonnier said.

"I hope not. We will be keeping an eye on this".

Right now it's not mandatory to have cases of AFM reported to the CDC or the MDH. "When you are talking about infants and toddlers they are not fully immune competent", Rohde says. It is already required for a number of diseases, including West Nile virus and influenza, but not for AFM.

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The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak, which can require urgent ventilator support.

The Atlanta-based health agency is investigating into 65 additional possible cases.

"Make sure you keep your children up to date on their vaccines", he said. While most viral infections are mild and self-limited, some people are more seriously affected, either because of environmental factors, genetic susceptibility, or just plain bad luck. "And, if your children develop weakness in their arms or their legs, especially if they've had a cold, take them to their doctor immediately".

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