U.S. CDC confirms 62 cases of rare polio-like neurological condition

More than 90 percent of the cases involved children 18 or younger, with an average age of just 4 years old.

Cases of AFM have been reported in 22 states around the country, and all of those cases have tested negative for polio.

"We understand that people, particularly parents, are concerned", said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director for the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, during a teleconference call with reporters. Another kind of virus was found in only some of the cases. In 2018, the federal health watchdog confirmed 62 instances of the disease - which causes limb weakness and can paralyse sufferers.

"CDC has been actively investigating AFM, testing specimens and monitoring disease since 2014, when we first saw an increase in cases", Messonnier said.

The NDDoH is working with the child's health care providers to gather information about the case and will be sharing information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to determine if this individual does have AFM.

Unfortunately, there's no specific treatment for AFM.

A "polio-like illness" that affects children is spreading across the United States and has now been found in 22 states, CNN reported Wednesday.

The CDC is reporting 127 patients are under investigation for acute flaccid myelitis or AFM.

In most cases, the patient's arms or legs become weak, similar to the results of infection with polio.

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Once diagnosed, some patients have recovered quickly, but some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care, Messonnier said. This condition is not new, but the increase in cases we saw starting in 2014 is new ...

"This is a pretty dramatic disease", Messonnier said.

There is no treatment specifically for AFM, but affected children can undergo physical and occupational therapy to maximize their strength and adapt to their limitations. "Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".

"Symptoms include sudden muscle weakness", Nesemeier said.

"It can be caused by viruses, it can be caused by environmental factors or possibly a genetic disorder", Nesemeier said. Officials will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases. Six children in Minnesota were diagnosed with the disease since mid-September.

The agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk for developing this condition or the reasons they may be at higher risk.

Quinton Hill, 7, of Lakeville, Minn., lost movement in one arm last month due to a mysterious syndrome known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). To date, no pathogen has been consistently detected in AFM patients.

Vaccines and hand-washing help protect against the spread of viral illnesses, while insect repellent helps ward off the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile.

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