Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

'Polio like' illness spreads to 22 states

'Polio like' illness spreads to 22 states

"Most of the cases that CDC has learned about have been in children", said the CDC. We actually don't know what is causing this increase.

CDC officials say some possible suspected causes, like polio and West Nile virus, have been ruled out. Another spike came in 2016.

Health experts are working to gather information on the North Dakota case, but confirmation could take weeks. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years. In 2018, the federal health watchdog confirmed 62 instances of the disease - which causes limb weakness and can paralyse sufferers.

Because the symptoms are similar, AFM is often confused with polio, a crippling and potentially fatal disease that is caused by a virus. Fifteen states said they'd confirmed cases this year.

"What we have been told is that he's the best case scenario of a hard situation", she said.

The first cases of AFM coincided with an unusually severe outbreak of a common virus that affects the lungs or gut.

Some patients diagnosed with AFM recover quickly, while some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care, Messonnier said.

Because officials don't know the cause of AFM, they can't recommend a specific way to prevent it.

There are no known cases of the illness in either Virginia or D.C., according to area health officials.

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No cases of polio have originated in the USA since 1979, while in Australia, the last case of the disease caused by a locally acquired virus was in 1972.

"Our medical team has been reviewing vaccine records when available during this year's investigation and do not see a correlation", said CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

Last year, one child died of the disease.

But the agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk nor why they may be at higher risk. "None of the specimens have tested positive for poliovirus". But so far, no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

"As we work to better understand what is causing AFM, parents can help protect their children from serious diseases by following prevention steps like washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended immunizations and using insect repellent", Messonnier said.

"Very healthy, just, like, running around doing anything, getting into everything and then just 'bam.' It was so fast, '" Faircloth said.

Mary Finke said, "We're always watchful of any cold pneumonia, anything - chicken pox". The average age of those diagnosed is 4 years old.

Since 2014 there have been almost 400 confirmed cases of AFM across the United States.

But some state health departments, such as Minnesota's, have reported the numbers.

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