The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed frustration and concern Tuesday about a puzzling surge in cases of polio-like paralysis, mostly in children, being reported across the country this year. Sixty-two cases of the rare but serious condition have now been confirmed in 22 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
CNN has reported that this year, more than half of all US states have had confirmed or possible cases, including North and SC. A spokeswoman for hospital said they have notified the health department and are working with the CDC to learn more about the illness. The CDC still has not pin-pointed exactly what's causing this disorder, but they suspect a virus that circulates this time of the year.
So far, AFM has affected fewer than one in a million people in the United States each year.More news: Here's why Ireland's game against Wales tonight is so important
More than 120 confirmed or possible cases are under investigation nationwide, according to the CDC.
There is no specific treatment for the disorder, and long-term outcomes are unknown.
"Any weakness, including trouble swallowing, weakness of an extremity, especially in a child who has recently gone through signs of an infection, those would be the main red flags", said Sarah Hopkins.
The CDC has been tracking cases of AFM since a noted spike in 2014.More news: Sole crossing between Syria and Israeli-controlled Golan reopens after 4 years
Media reports in recent weeks have suggested that a "polio-like virus" might be triggering the condition, elevating fears that it might be polio itself.
"As a parent myself, I understand what it is like to be scared for your child".
"Nobody really knows treatment protocols, they don't know prognosis, and they can't really give parents an answer as to where this is coming from", she said. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now". Specifically, the disease affects the area of the spinal cord called gray matter. "For some of the previous cases we've identified one pathogen or another, but we have no unifying diagnosis".
But Messonnier said that, in general, parents can help protect their children from diseases by washing their hands, making sure their children are up to date with vaccinations and applying insect repellent to protect against mosquito bites, which can spread viruses. But that bug - enterovirus D68 - could not be definitively linked to the illnesses. "We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness of the arms and legs".More news: Jose Mourinho charged by FA for allegedly swearing at a TV camera