CDC Confirms Case Of Rare, Polio-Like Disease In Oklahoma

Glen Mclaughlin
October 18, 2018

Two cases of the disease - acute flaccid myelitis - have been confirmed in MA with another four cases under investigation.

Last year the number dropped to 16, making the pattern one that hits harder every other year.

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Physicians first began noticing an increase in AFM patients in 2014, with roughly 120 confirmed cases.

At least 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states this year, and at least 65 additional illnesses in those states are being investigated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is reporting 127 patients are under investigation for acute flaccid myelitis or AFM. "A doctor can also do an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look at a patient's brain and spinal cord, do lab tests on the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord), and may check nerve conduction (impulse sent along a nerve fiber) and response", officials say. But officials haven't been able to find a single agent that would explain the clusters of cases that occur around the same time.

The group wrote that the cell line they developed could be used to further explore EV-D68 genetic factors associated with neurologic effects, adding that replication in the cell line could be used to rapidly screen for neurotropic EV-D68 strains. And in very rare cases, AFM can trigger fatal neurological complications.

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CDC Since August 2014, the CDC has seen 386 confirmed cases of AFM in the U.S. Some possible suspects, such as polio and West Nile virus, have been ruled out.

Many local cases have been treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The CDC says there are preventive measures people can take to reduce the risk of infections that could lead to AFM.

More broadly, she noted, "there is a lot we don't know about AFM".

The CDC encourages people to prevent the disease by staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites.

Although it's rare, the CDC recommends seeking medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness of the arms or legs. Officials would not say what states they lived in, but cases have been reported in New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, and Washington. The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak. Some merely have difficulty moving the eye or the face; some have a single weakening limb. The average age of those afflicted is 4, and 90 percent of those with AFM are 18 or younger.

Rooney said, "It seems from most of the evidence so far there may be a connection to viruses". He continues to get therapy to strengthen his muscles and uses electric stimulation pads to help rejuvenate his damaged nerves.

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