Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

PA has three confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis

A Mysterious Polio Like Illness Is on the Rise in Kids. Scientists Don't Know Why Credit Shutterstock
Ben Pena | 19 October, 2018, 04:34

A seventh child has been diagnosed with a rare, paralyzing illness that has seen an uptick in cases this year in the US, the Minnesota Department of Health said. In rare cases, about a week after the infection, the child will develop weakness in his or her arms, legs or muscles of the face or throat, he says. The virus triggered a paralyzing illness in the mice that "looked an terrible lot like what we saw in children", says Kenneth Tyler, chairman of the school's Department of Neurology.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there have been 62 cases of the rare polio-like condition acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM, this year. Ninety per cent of children diagnosed with AFM are under 18, with the average age of children in confirmed cases being about 4.

But both Glatter and Ehresmann were quick to reiterate that AFM is very rare.

While just one person in a million gets it every year, it's a growing health concern. It's a sudden onset of weakness in usually a leg or an arm. Doctors are also urging that vaccines be kept up to date.

This year's outbreak marks the third spikeof AFM in four years. Some possible suspects, such as polio and West Nile virus, have been ruled out.

In Minnesota, six young patients have been diagnosed with AFM and the disease has public health officials on alert. They have not isolated the cause of these cases.

Another 65 cases nationwide are under investigation for AFM by the CDC. Environmental agents, viruses and other pathogens are still being considered.

It's important for parents to know the symptoms so they can get their child immediate medical care and help doctors get a handle on the disease. Since then, no large outbreaks of virus have occurred, according to the CDC.

The cause of the disorder has not yet been identified.

Cases of mysterious paralyzing illness reported in 22 states
CNN has reported that this year, more than half of all US states have had confirmed or possible cases, including North and SC . But the data reported Tuesday represents "a substantially larger number than in previous months this year", Messonnier said.

It's not clear who is at risk.

In a press briefing Tuesday, officials talked about an increase in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) this year.

The last major AFM outbreak - 120 cases across 34 states in 2014 - coincided with a sharp rise in severe respiratory illnesses caused by enterovirus D68.

She suspects that a host of factors play a role in the likelihood of getting AFM, but more cases must be reviewed in order to find an answer.

PHAC is monitoring CDC updates, however, "We haven't found anything in Canada yet", said Dr. Tim Booth, director of the viral diseases division of Canada's National Microbiology Lab.

It takes some time to investigate each case, Messonnier said. Seruya has operated on 15 children whose AFM-induced paralysis lasted at least three months.

Some patients have recovered movement; some have not.

Most kids who contract an enterovirus only suffer an upper-respiratory infection, Pardo-Villamizar and Dominguez said.

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