Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Health Department: 7th Case Of AFM Diagnosed In Minnesota

Department of Public Health confirms case of polio-like disease in Massachusetts Case Of Polio-Like Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed In Mass.
Ben Pena | 17 October, 2018, 06:22

Of these, 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states.

"A polio-like disease because in the sense that it does involve the same areas in the nervous system", said Dr. Cristina L. Sadowsky, clinical director for the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, with Kennedy Krieger Institute. Disease investigators believe this was linked to an outbreak of a respiratory illness in children that was caused by a virus known as enterovirus D 68 (EVD68).

The overall rate of AFM is fewer than one in a million, she said.

Dozens of children across the United States have developed a rare polio-like illness, but the reason for this spike in cases remains a mystery, according to health officials. One child died from AFM in 2017. No geographic clustering has been found and there is no other "unifying factor to explain the peaks", she added. Despite extensive laboratory and other testing, CDC has not been able to find the cause for the majority of the cases. "There is a lot we don't know about AFM, and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness". CDC has tested many different specimens from patients with this condition for a wide range of pathogens, or germs, that can cause AFM. "None of the specimens have tested positive for poliovirus".

The outlook for patients with AFM can vary from a quick recovery to ongoing paralysis, Messonnier said. But some state health departments, such as Minnesota's, have reported the numbers.

According to CNN, at least 30 states have cases that were confirmed, suspected or being investigated.

The increase in cases has been happening since 2014, usually in August and September, but only in 2014 and 2016, Messonnier said in a news briefing with reporters. The agency had a teleconference with health providers slated for later today, and it provided a toolkit for diagnosing AFM, along with instructions for reporting suspected cases. "There's going to be a delay, a lag in the timing of some of these reports". Currently, 127 patients are under investigation.

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Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.

Officials said they are looking at an additional 65 possible cases of AFM.

It is "a pretty dramatic disease", but fortunately most kids recover, Messonnier said.

A doctor is pictured with a patient in this undated stock photo.

About 90 percent of the cases are children who have suffered muscle weakness or paralysis.

The surge in cases has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday took the unusual step of announcing a change in the way the agency will count cases in the future.

"As we work to better understand what's causing AFM, parents can help protect their children by washing your hands, staying up to date on recommended vaccines and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites", Messonnier said.

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