Polio-Like Disease Spreads Across Country

The Department of Public Health has confirmed the second MA case this year of a rare but potentially devastating illness that strikes mostly children and causes muscle weakness or paralysis.

Since 2014, Georgia public health officials said, there have been 11 confirmed or probable cases of AFM in the state, with five coming in 2016 alone.

Still, both stated because there isn't a clear picture of which children may be at risk for developing AFM, parents should be observant for any changes if their child should get sick.

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".

"Oftentimes, despite extensive lab tests, the cause of a patient's AFM is not identified".

It's a rare illness that seems to peak every other year since 2014.

Has anyone died from AFM?

The vast majority of cases are in children, particularly young kids, Benson said. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

"Then she woke up one day and said, 'Mommy, I can't walk, '" recalled Gary, of DeBary. But the long-term effects are still unknown.

The CDC also hasn't ruled out either environmental toxins or some sort of autoimmune disorder as potential causes of AFM, Messonnier added. The health department is investigating such suspected cases of illness in 25 states. Yet, more than four years after health officials first recorded the most recent uptick in cases, much about the national outbreak remains a mystery.

"There is not an outbreak of AFM", said Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of infectious diseases and immunology at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, where a 3-year-old girl was diagnosed with AFM and is under care in the ICU. So far, the number of cases in 2018 is similar to the number reported in 2014 and 2016, Messonnier said. So while it is a scary condition, it is also extremely rare and affects less than one in every million people in the United States - even with the spike in cases.

Health officials Arkansas and Oklahoma say a rare illness that's being compared to polio may have reached the states as it spreads across the U.S.

"While some patients have recovered rapidly, others have remain paralyzed and require a high level of ongoing care to support their breathing and monitor for neurological deterioration", he said. CDC has tested many different specimens from patients with this condition for a wide variety of pathogens, or germs, that can cause AFM. The symptoms are also similar to non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, and the West Nile virus. It recently received increased reports of suspected AFM cases with onset of symptoms in August and September.

Officials said they will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases. "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. There is no specific treatment or cure for the illness.

What are the chances my child will get AFM?