CDC needs emergency funds to fight rare spinal cord illness, Gillibrand says

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CDC needs emergency funds to fight rare spinal cord illness, Gillibrand says

The Department of Health says it is best to get vaccinated for the illnesses that cause it, to wash your hands and to avoid close contact with sick people. Dozens of other cases in the state are being investigated but have not yet been confirmed by clinical testing. Since then, 10 more cases were confirmed by the agency.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed on Monday that the number of suspected AFM cases has grown to 286, though medical experts are still baffled as to what is causing the spike in the rare illness. More than 90% of the 440 cases reported in the last four years were in children under the age of 4, CNN reported.

The U.S. has seen an increase in AFM cases since 2014.

The patient in that case met some, but not all, of the criteria needed for the case to be confirmed as AFM. "There is still a lot to learn about AFM and more study is needed".

The above graphic shows how AFM affects the nervous system
AFM not confirmed in patient after review

The syndrome is a paralyzing disease, causing children to lose the ability to move their face, neck, back, arms or legs.

"CDC officials have pledged to do more to notify doctors to look for possible cases and to more thoroughly review cases from years past for further clues", she added. There is no known cause or treatment for this disease.

While the illness resembles polio, patients test negative for polio virus. Cases are still quite rare, however - fewer than 1 in a million children are affected. The most severe symptom of AFM is respiratory failure that can happen when the muscles involved with breathing become weak.

The rapid onset of flaccid weakness of AFM in one or more limbs is similar to symptoms from paralytic polio, and so has been described as "polio-like."However, the underlying pathophysiology of AFM is not (yet) well understood.It is thought to be caused by a virus, and there are some specific suspect viruses; enterovirus D68 is a leading candidate (there are many types of enterovirus, causing over 10 million infections in the US every year, usually just "common colds").The incomplete understanding of AFM limits the ability to make a specific diagnosis and to confidently identify the mode (s) of transmission, as well as preventing development of preventive measures (such as a vaccine) or treatment".

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