Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Health Care | By Belinda Paul

Polio-like disease has Gillibrand concerned

Polio-like disease has Gillibrand concerned

The CDC has not identified a cause or how the illness spreads. "Parents are extremely anxious about what this disease means for their children, but doctors still don't know what causes AFM or how it spreads", said Senator Gillibrand. "I'm sure if I provide the data to each senator about how many cases they have in their state, they'll be made more aware about how serious this is, and how anxious parents are." . Washington, Ohio, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania have each confirmed eight cases of AFM.

While acute flaccid myelitis is not a new condition, the increase in cases nationwide that began in 2014 is new, state health officials said.

One thing researchers have noticed is that since 2014, the number of cases seems to spike every two years in August or September, the Washington Post pointed out.

The illness is called acute flaccid myelitis and the CDC warns that over 90 percent of the cases affect children. The CDC says at least 252 cases have been reported by 27 states, including 90 confirmed cases through November 9.

CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a news release, "I want to reaffirm to parents, patients, and our Nation CDC's commitment to this serious medical condition". "There is still a lot to learn about AFM and more study is needed". Although there is no cure for paralytic polio, about half of the small percentage of patients that develop this condition recover fully on their own, a quarter have mild residual weakness and about a quarter have severe permanent disability.Overall, the prognosis is better for younger children.

While the illness resembles polio, patients test negative for polio virus.

Numbness or tingling is rare in patients with AFM, though some patients have pain in their arms or legs. There is no known cause or treatment for this disease.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses, may recommend interventions on a case-by-case basis.

Most patients will have sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes.

None of the cases have been related to the poliovirus, although the impact is similar to polio.

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