Sen. Amy Klobuchar and state health leaders on Thursday called for mandatory national reporting of cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, the polio-like disorder that has stricken as many as seven Minnesota children this year. IL has ten clinically diagnosed cases of the virus that has now been confirmed in 22 states across the country so far in 2018.
State health departments have reported an increase in confirmed AFM cases in the past few months. Although infectious diseases that target the motor nerves and spinal cord can, in theory, affect anyone, Kassam said AFM has a particular "predilection" for children.
The CDC estimates the disease affects on average less than one in a million people a year in the US.
Symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis usually include the sudden onset of weakness in the arms and/or legs or decreased or absent reflexes in the limbs. That is roughly 50 percent more than have already been confirmed. While potential causes may include certain viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC says, "AFM can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases".
Confirmed AFM cases that CDC has been made aware of as of October 16, 2018.
"I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness", said Messonnier.
It will likely be several weeks before it's known if the cases are AFM, due to the difficulty of testing for it. "When you are talking about infants and toddlers they are not fully immune competent", Rohde says. It can also be caused by a number of different viruses, including non-polio enteroviruses or West Nile virus.
Shah says the best thing parents can do is to "continue being good parents".
In the most severe cases, respiratory failure can occur when the muscles that support breathing become weak. There are 155 cases under investigation nationwide. "And, if your children develop weakness in their arms or their legs, especially if they've had a cold, take them to their doctor immediately". The CDC is also exploring environmental toxins or genetic factors as a possibility.
"Make sure you keep your children up to date on their vaccines", he said.