Norton Children's treats three patients for rare polio-like illness

The agency also said it will post case count updates on its website every week now, a change from the monthly updates it had been giving.

"What is alarming and frightening is they suddenly develop weakness, and typically it's in an arm or leg. and it comes out of the blue.and that weakness comes and often times it's persists", Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

U.S. health officials have issued a warning about a rare condition which attacks the nervous system and spinal cord after 62 new cases of the little-known disease were confirmed across 22 states.

Some victims have been infected with viruses, but researchers have been unable to identify a single virus responsible for all cases.

Quinton Hill, 7, of Lakeville, Minn., lost movement in one arm last month due to a mysterious syndrome known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). As pediatrician Ashanti Woods said, it behaves more like polio.

There's no specific treatment that helps or reverses the effects of the condition. The rare but serious disorder affects a person's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.

The disease is extremely rare, with the CDC estimating that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year. In 2017 were recorded 21 cases of the disease. The total reported number for this year is 127, but the CDC has only confirmed 62 of those cases so far.

When AFM strikes, patients experience sudden weakness, as well as loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms and legs. Some patients recover quickly and some need ongoing therapy for paralysis.

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The number of confirmed cases has been on the rise since late 2014, when there were 120 confirmed cases from August to December in 34 states. Then in 2016, there were 149 confirmed cases.

Messonnier said that the CDC has neither a clear idea of who might be at higher risk of developing the disease nor why.

Messonnier stressed that while she understands how frightening this situation is for parents, they should remember that the infections are, in fact, rare.

"We have a lot of anger toward the CDC", said Gary, 37, speaking as a member of the AFM parent community.

The CDC has been tracking cases of AFM since a noted spike in 2014. West Nile virus is also not a culprit, she said.

Health officials don't have an exact cause of AFM.

Boston Children's Hospital has evaluated all of the confirmed and suspected AFM cases that occurred in MA this year. Fifteen states said they'd confirmed cases this year. "Our medical team has been reviewing vaccine records when available during this year's investigation and do not see a correlation", said CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund. The agency had a teleconference with health providers slated for later today, and it provided a toolkit for diagnosing AFM, along with instructions for reporting suspected cases. The average age of affected patients is just four. But so far, no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

Doctors are not sure what causes AFM, but you can take preventative measures by staying away from people who are sick, washing your hands and using alcohol-based products.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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