Polio-like Paralysis Illness Appears to have Peaked, reports CDC

Case of acute flaccid myelitis confirmed in North Dakota

Johns Hopkins researchers have analyzed patient data from 45 cases of what they thought was acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the polio-like outbreak occurring in USA children, and realized that only 75 percent of diagnosed cases were AFM.

Over 200 cases were under investigation at the beginning of last month, and the infection had spread to affect half the country.

Even though I am a physician who knows the hard facts about illness and deals with them on a daily basis, I still worry irrationally about a mystery illness striking my children suddenly and robbing them of their health and strength and threatening their lives.

The decline in cases is expected to continue.

Most of the cases recently reported seem to have occurred in September and October.

The CDC has found three viruses - coxsackievirus A16, enterovirus A71 and enterovirus D68 - in the spinal fluid of four of the 440 patients confirmed to have AFM, which points to a likely cause in those cases.

Competing theories have emerged about what triggers AFM.

The illness can be caused by certain enteroviruses, or "a group of viruses that cause a number of infectious illnesses which are usually mild", the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says online. It now has a full task force assigned to AFM and it is investigating cases and possible cases.

The most common alternative diagnoses were transverse myelitis-an inflammation of the spinal cord-and spinal cord stroke.

Without clear guidance, doctors are trying several different kinds of treatment.

Of the 299 suspected cases of AFM reported to the CDC in 2018, the health agency has confirmed 134 cases of the illness in 33 states.

The CDC began monitoring AFM in 2014, and though the agency is still unsure what causes the disease to spread so rapidly, a pattern has developed in which more cases of AFM are confirmed every two years. Cases have been confirmed in 33 states including Iowa and IL.

On 12-03-2018 the CDC released new numbers of confirmed cases.

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