Wednesday, 22 May, 2019


127 suspected and confirmed cases of polio-like condition — CDC

An electron micrograph of a thin section of EV-D68 a rare enterovirus.									Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Yiting Zhang  CDC An electron micrograph of a thin section of EV-D68 a rare enterovirus. Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Yiting Zhang CDC
Patty Aguilar | 19 October, 2018, 08:14

USA health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children, and said it seems to be following an every-other-year pattern.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) resembles polio in that it causes paralysis and mostly affects children, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ruled out polio as a potential cause, STAT reports. Other symptoms may include trouble moving the eyes, drooping eyelids or facial droop and weakness. There were 120 confirmed cases in 2014 and 149 two years later.

The state Department of Public Health said the best prevention message is that parents should make sure they and their children do basic things to help keep them healthy, such as washing hands, covering a cough or sneeze, staying home when sick, and making sure they're up to date on vaccines. Authorities say they are still awaiting confirmed lab results from the CDC. The average patient age is 4 years old.

"Many times it can start with what looks like a respiratory illness, a little bit of a fever", Tara Narula, a cardiologist and medical contributor to CBS News, told CBS This Morning. Scientists are investigating a number of causes, including viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC said on its website. One death of a child diagnosed with AFM occurred in 2017. It is also not known exactly what the long-term implications of the disease are. That's when doctors feel it may be a case of AFM and treatment begins.

There were outbreaks of around 100 cases, nationwide, between August and October in both 2014 and 2016.

"We have not been able to find the cause of the majority of AFM cases", Messonnier said. In the CDC's health warning the organisation said at least 65 other patients are being assessed after they displayed symptoms of the malady.

"This is a mystery and we haven't solved it yet, so we have to be thinking broadly", said Messonnier, adding, "You'd think that we would finding a single agent and that's not what we're finding".

While just one person in a million gets it every year, it's a growing health concern. Since 2014, 386 cases have been confirmed, the CDC said on Tuesday. A research team led by Van Haren was the first to link acute flaccid myelitis with EV D68, back in 2015.

A risky and rare disease that's similar to the polio virus is on the rise in the USA, and it has health officials baffled. There was one confirmed death a year ago, the CDC said on Tuesday.

"Nobody really knows treatment protocols, they don't know prognosis, and they can't really give parents an answer as to where this is coming from", she 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.

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