Health Department: 7th Case Of AFM Diagnosed In Minnesota

Pearl Mccarthy
October 19, 2018

Another spike came in 2016.

"[There's] nothing that provides the unifying diagnosis that we'd expect to explain these peaks of disease", Messonnier said.

The CDC is investigating over 100 possible cases of the disease. The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure, which can happen when the muscles needed to breathe become weak from the disease.

It attacks the nervous system, specifically the spinal area. The CDC has yet to figure out a common link between all the cases that have been reported, although they did note that several of them seem to have been linked to infections by other viruses, enterovirus D68.

NBC News had done its own unofficial survey of state health officials and found 87 confirmed or suspected cases in 26 states.

This week, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed its third case and said its reviewing two more similar cases.

Despite that alarm, there are a lot of unknowns about the polio-like illness, including what causes it and why it affects children more than adults.

"We want to encourage parents to seek medical care right away if you or your child develops symptoms of AFM, such as sudden weakness and loss of muscle tone in your arms or legs", she said.

This year's numbers are similar to 2016 and 2014. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

States are reporting their cases to the CDC, Messonnier said.

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

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"We need to pay attention to this, because the long-term consequences the children and their parents suffer is vast", said Dr. Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, a neurological disease expert with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. In the CDC's health warning the organisation said at least 65 other patients are being assessed after they displayed symptoms of the malady.

The mysterious increase in cases of AFM, as it's called, was first spotted in the late summer and autumn of 2014.

"Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases", Messonnier said. Since then, there have been more than 350 confirmed cases of the sickness. This year to date there are about 38 cases nationwide, 16 states in all. But so far, no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

"We are just learning about this illness ourselves". There was one death of a child who had AFM, in 2017, said Messonnier.

The symptoms appear about one week after the children start experiencing a fever or respiratory problems.

"Families really sticking with it are seeing slow but steady recovery", he said.

From August 2014 through September 2018, the CDC received information on a total of 386 confirmed cases of AFM across the country.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, so far there has been one confirmed case in Ohio.

The CDC referred calls to individual state health departments.

Washington Post writers Dana Hedgpeth and Justin Wm.

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