Illinois Patients Now Under Investigation For Polio-Like Child Illness AFM

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The exact cause of the illness is still unknown. More than 100 people contracted the disease in 2014, 2016 and 2018, while fewer than 50 cases were confirmed in 2015 and 2017. Two cases have been confirmed in NYC.

In an open letter to the House and Senate committee leadership now putting together an appropriation bill, Gillibrand said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 286 suspected or confirmed cases of AFM.

Neither New York nor New Jersey rank among the states with the highest number of AFM diagnoses-Colorado and Texas lead the pack, with 15 and 14 documented cases respectively-but the CDC urges parents and guardians of kids exhibiting symptoms to report to a doctor ASAP: The agency asks medical professionals' help in collecting information for their investigation.

26, 116 confirmed cases have been reported in 31 states.

On November 13, CDC announced a new task force to investigate the mysterious outbreak.

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Though AFM is a rare condition, it is serious and affects the nervous system and part of the spinal cord called gray matter, causing the body's reflexes and muscle movement to weaken, according to the CDC. "This Task Force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences". There is no known cause or treatment for this disease. Although there is no cure for paralytic polio, about half of the small percentage of patients that develop this condition recover fully on their own, a quarter have mild residual weakness and about a quarter have severe permanent disability.Overall, the prognosis is better for younger children.

The children involved in this outbreak have tested negative for polio and West Nile.

The number of Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) appear to spike in August and September every two years, and researchers aren't sure why.

Though it is similar to polio, the CDC said it is not caused by poliovirus.

Symptoms include sudden weakness in the arms or legs.

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