MDH: 7th Minnesota case of AFM 'under review' by CDC

MDH: 7th Minnesota case of AFM 'under review' by CDC

Parents in the metro are on guard after officials with the Douglas County Health Department revealed that there is a child in Douglas County possibly showing symptoms of a rare polio-like condition called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM.

USA health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children, and said it seems to be following an every-other-year pattern.

Doctors say that most of the reported cases of AFM involve those under the age of 18.

Messonnier said the search for a cause is frustrating, and so far, no particular pathogen or immune response has been identified that would explain the big AFM peaks.

A mysterious illness that's sickening and even paralyzing children is prompting warnings this week from federal health officials to seek medical care immediately should anyone develop its symptoms. Since 2014, 386 cases have been confirmed, the CDC said on Tuesday.

The agency has seen an increase in cases since August 2014. Another spike came in 2016. However, the illness has been on the rise in the USA since 2014. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

"This is actually a pretty dramatic disease", Messonnier told reporters on Tuesday.

Viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders are among the suspected causes of the illness, which often begins with fever, respiratory issues and muscle weakness.

Officials have confirmed there is a possible case of acute flaccid myelitis, an illness similar to polio, in Douglas County. Maryland's first case was reported September 21. The CDC would not release a list of the states reporting probable or confirmed cases. Less than one in a million people get it each year nationwide, the CDC estimates.

"As a parent myself I understand what it's like to be scared for your child", Messonnier said.

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Another potential cause of AFM is a type of enterovirus called EV D68, Todd said.

Data collected since the establishment of standardized surveillance helped with the identification of another increase in reports nationally during 2016 and has provided additional valuable information on the clinical presentation to help better characterize the clinical features, epidemiology, and short-term outcomes of cases of AFM. This year is one of them.

The CDC is investigating the outbreak.

Officials said some people diagnosed with the illness recover quickly while others need ongoing care.

Medical experts have unable to find a cause nor have they been able to determine who is at risk.

Although some AFM patients tested positive for an enterovirus, indicating a possible link, not all had the virus.

She recommended that parents take routine protections against viral infections, such as keeping up to date on immunizations, washing hands, and avoiding mosquito bites.

That's when we spoke with the families of 4-year-old Camdyn Carr, who's now fighting the disease, and 7-year-old Sebastian Bottomley, who previously fought AFM.

Other countries have reported AFM cases, but not the same seasonal pattern the United States has experienced. She noted the confirmed cases are in 22 states.

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