Two Mass. children contracted rare muscle-weakness syndrome this year, officials say

19 October, 2018, 09:04 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • A Mysterious Polio Like Illness Is on the Rise in Kids. Scientists Don't Know Why

About 90 percent of the cases have involved paralysis, according to the CDC.

The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases.

Viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders are among the suspected causes of the illness, which often begins with fever, respiratory issues and muscle weakness.

In some cases children have recovered, but in others the paralysis has lingered. But that bug - enterovirus D68 - could not be definitively linked to the illnesses.

Each year since then, usually in August or September, the CDC has logged a spike in the illness. There have now been a total of 386 confirmed cases since 2014.

Some victims have been infected with viruses, but researchers have been unable to identify a single virus responsible for all cases. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

"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". Experts don't know the long-term effects of the disease. This is the first report of potential AFM to the NDDoH.

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- The North Carolina Department of Health and Services is investigating multiple cases of a mysterious paralyzing illness found in a number of states across the country.

The good news is that the complication is "incredibly rare", Messonnier said.

Danielle Finkle, a mother from IL who was interviewed, said about her son: "He came to me and he's supporting his left arm with his right arm, and he says, 'Mommy my arm's broke'". And in very rare cases, AFM can trigger fatal neurological complications. Other possible causes, the CDC says, could be the West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, and non-polio enteroviruses, which can develop into a serious condition for infants and those with compromised immune systems.

After testing patients' stool specimens, the CDC determined poliovirus is not the cause of the AFM cases. "And certainly after three cycles of this, when we've looked through all the normal agents, we're looking beyond that to see if there are things beyond normal infectious diseases that could cause this", said Messonnier.

In some individuals, health officials have determined that the condition was from infection with a type of virus that causes severe respiratory illness.

AFM grabbed attention in 2014, when 120 cases were reported nationally.

A rare but scary complication from a virus has left more than 60 children with a polio-like paralysis. There have been cases each year since, but the numbers have been higher on alternate years. Doctors are also urging that vaccines be kept up to date.

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