Rare polio-like disease is spreading — CDC

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't know why young children across the country are coming down with a rare condition called Acute Flaccid Myelitis. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.October 25, 2018 / 8:40 PM GMTBy Maggie FoxThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it doesn't know what's causing a sudden rise in cases of a frightening, polio-like condition that leaves children paralyzed or with weakened limbs.The No. 1 suspect had been a virus called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68. The CDC has confirmed 62 cases in 22 states.

CBC News has learned that three cases of a rare, polio-like disease have presented at the London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) Children's Hospital since early September.

State and federal health officials are warning the public about the increase in the number of cases of AFM, but there is no known treatment for it.

The CDC says AFM is a neurologic illness that affects the spinal cord, causing arm and leg weakness.

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The CDC first identified AFM cases in the U.S.in 2014. Many are calling AFM a "polio-like" illness, because it causes weakness and paralysis in childrens' arms and legs. That is roughly 50 percent more than have already been confirmed.

"This is a mystery so far, and we haven't solved it yet, so we have to be thinking broadly", Messonnier said.

Despite the similarity in symptoms, all AFM cases have tested negative for poliovirus.

Right now it's not mandatory to have cases of AFM reported to the CDC or the MDH.

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"What happens is that with time you build immunity", said Christenson.

In the most severe cases, respiratory failure can occur when the muscles that support breathing become weak.

The Atlanta-based health agency is investigating into 65 additional possible cases. While most viral infections are mild and self-limited, some people are more seriously affected, either because of environmental factors, genetic susceptibility, or just plain bad luck.

Sutfin says parents should protect their children against mosquito bites, and make sure they are up to date on their vaccines, as well as encourage frequent handwashing.

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