One child has died of “acute flaccid myelitis”, and 62 cases have been confirmed as AFM.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now reporting that there are now more than 125 confirmed or suspected cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a condition affecting children across the nation and leaving them paralyzed.
Federal health officials released the updated numbers on Tuesday, and said they still had no idea what was causing the spike in AFM cases or why kids were getting it in the first place.
“We understand that people, particularly parents, are concerned,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, during a teleconference call with reporters.
“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
One child has died of the disease, and 62 of the cases have been confirmed as AFM. The cause of the illness has not yet been determined.
“There is a lot we don’t know about AFM,” Messonnier said during a teleconference for reporters. “I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven’t been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness.”
The average age of the children is about 4, she said, and 90 percent of cases the CDC has been studying since 2014 have involved patients 18 or younger.
Messonnier said scientists don’t fully understand the long-term consequences of the illness: “We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care.”
Astute readers will recall that we covered the spread of a polio-like virus among the young in 2014. This is when the condition was first recognized by CDC, and the agency has confirmed 386 cases through Oct. 16, mostly in children.
…[A] few cases have been linked to other viruses. Symptoms are similar to poliovirus, West Nile virus and adenoviruses, which makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose.
Symptoms include drooping face and eyelids, difficulty with eye movement and swallowing, and slurred speech. In severe cases, children might have trouble breathing and need a ventilator because of muscle weakness.
…There is no specific treatment for AFM, and the long-term outcomes for patients are unknown. Messonnier said she is “frustrated” that there still is so much health officials do not know about AFM.
Parents should check sick children for signs and symptoms (described by the CDC), and seek medical attention promptly should any arise.DONATE
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