CDC Confirms Case Of Rare, Polio-Like Disease In Oklahoma
18 October, 2018, 14:56 | Author: Lillian Steele
The CDC is actively investigating the cases and working with healthcare providers as well as state and local health departments to spread the word about AFM.
So far this year, there have been 127 confirmed and suspected cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a condition in which one or more limbs becomes paralyzed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a news conference Tuesday (October 16). Health officials aren't sure, and they have given no concrete information as to why the illness seems to peak in the late summer and fall. None of the USA patients tested positive for polio, a crippling and often deadly disease which was eliminated in this country thanks to the polio vaccine. The symptoms tend to occur about a week after they had a fever and respiratory illness.
"This is truly a mysterious disease", said Dr. Nancy Messonier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said.
"We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk".
CDC officials have not confirmed any specific cause of AFM, Messonnier said.
In a few cases, it appears that the illnesses were linked to viruses, including enterovirus.
- Five Maryland children may have contracted a rare virus with symptoms similar to polio, according to state health officials.
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On the CDC's website, it lists symptoms of the disease, which include facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, or difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech. It's also important to note that the number of known or suspected cases is small, so the odds of contracting the illness are extremely low.
James Hill of Lakeville, Minn., said his son, Quinton, suffered typical cold symptoms at the start of one school week in September.
The CDC also hasn't ruled out either environmental toxins or some sort of autoimmune disorder as potential causes of AFM, Messonnier added. Doctors at Children's have not seen an AFM patient needing a ventilator this year, but have treated such cases in the past, Benson said.
Some patients diagnosed with this condition have recovered quickly but others continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care, she said.
Parents can best protect their children from serious diseases by taking prevention steps, such as washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended vaccines and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites. Since 2014, 386 cases have been reported.
Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of infectious disease and immunology at Wolfson, said in a statement that the child, who was not identified, was admitted to the hospital with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).
"So we're very lucky that he had (physical therapy) through early intervention".
Most of the cases are in children who have suffered muscle weakness or paralysis, including in the face, neck, back or limbs. The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak.
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