Mysterious paralyzing illness reported in 22 states — CDC

A polio-like illness that can cause paralysis in children is now here in the Carolinas.

To give parents, healthcare workers, and public health officials a look at what to expect, she said the CDC will report suspected cases this year, as well as confirmed ones.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now 62 cases across 22 states this year. The agency said it is very concerned about it.

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".

Possible causes being considered include viruses that affect the digestive system called enteroviruses, and possibly strains of rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, she said.

"At first they were not sure the symptoms were real because it came so suddenly, and that weakness comes and often times it persists and that's when the parents take their child to go see the doctor for the treatments available, but that's the pattern, sudden onset painless weakness", Gupta said. Sixty-two cases of the rare but serious condition have now been confirmed in 22 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Department of Public Health has confirmed the second MA case this year of a rare but potentially devastating illness that strikes mostly children and causes muscle weakness or paralysis.

There are now five possible cases of a polio-like illness in Maryland, health officials confirm. Some with AFM will feel weakness in their arms or legs, a loss of muscle tone or slower reflexes. "We don't know if it's something contagious". Working with local and state health departments and hospitals, the CDC has been able to confirm a number of these cases faster, she said.

Rarely, people with AFM can suffer respiratory failure and require ventilator support when their breathing muscles become too weak.

CDC began tracking the condition in 2014, when there were 120 confirmed cases. CDC officials say they haven't found the cause.

Messonnier said it was important for parents and clinicians to remember that this is a rare condition, affecting less than one in 1 million children under 18.

"This is a mystery so far", Messonnier said, describing AFM as a "pretty dramatic disease", which preys on a child's nervous system. However, the illness has been on the rise in the USA since 2014. It could be potentially deadly if the diaphragm is paralyzed because the child would be unable to breathe. The disorder has been diagnosed in children who have received some of their recommended vaccinations and in unvaccinated children, she said. States are not required to provide this information to CDC, but they have been voluntarily reporting their data.

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