Cases Of Polio-Like Illness Now Under Investigation, CDC Says

Pearl Mccarthy
October 25, 2018

Ohio's reported cases occurred in Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Mercer and Pickaway counties in August and September, and all affected boys from 1 to 13 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department.

Since the first wave of AFM cases in 2014, the CDC has confirmed 386 cases of AFM. The CDC has confirmed a total of 386 cases of AFM have occurred across the United States from August 2014 through September 2018, mostly among children.

The CDC said it also is testing specimens, including stool, blood and cerebrospinal fluid, from suspected AFM cases and working with healthcare providers, health departments, policymakers, the public and other partners to gather information on the condition. These cases are among the total of 127 reports of patients under investigation for the condition. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now". In 2017, one child who had AFM died, CDC said. The cause is unknown. Many are calling AFM a "polio-like" illness, because it causes weakness and paralysis in childrens' arms and legs. "I know many parents want to know what the signs and symptoms are that they should be looking for in their child".

"We have [had] two patients we have treated in CHEO for [acute flaccid paralysis] since the summer", said Dr. Sunita Venkateswaran, a pediatric neurogologist with the children's hospital. "What the physician will do is rule out other causes rule out other things that might be causing it". "CDC has been actively investigating these AFM cases, and we continue to receive information about suspected AFM cases".

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Health officials say there are several potential causes of the condition, including certain viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders.

Messonnier said other viruses besides EV-D68 have been found in patients with AFM. "That is what we are not finding", she said.

To date, however, according to the CDC, no pathogen or germ has been consistently detected in a patient's spinal fluid that indicates the cause of AFM. When it infects pregnant women, the Zika virus can go into the brains of the developing fetuses and cause permanent damage.

People should also try to not get bitten by mosquitos-especially in countries where the mosquitos carry the West Nile virus-by using repellent, staying indoors at dusk and dawn, and removing standing or stagnant water near where they're living.

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