Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Cases Of Polio-Like Illness Now Under Investigation

Acute Flaccid Myelitis A rare polio-like illness called Acute Flaccid Myelitis is being seen in children across the U.S. and now in Canada
Steve Townsend | 25 October, 2018, 03:13

"CDC has been actively investigating these AFM cases, and we continue to receive information about suspected AFM cases".

So far in 2018, there are 62 confirmed cases of AFM in 22 states. In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death, according to the CDC.

Most patients will need physical therapy.

Dr. Jeremy Friedman, pediatrician-in-chief at the Hospital for Sick Children, wouldn't give an exact number, but said doctors at the Toronto hospital have seen less than 20 cases of limb-based paralysis since the beginning of September - with about a dozen of them confirmed as acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

AFP is the umbrella term used for "syndromes characterized by the acute onset of weakness of the limbs", including AFM, CDC notes.

"For individual cases, we have determined causes", Messonnier said.

HuffPost Canada has reached out to the Canadian Paediatric Society for comment.

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"There is a lot we don't know about AFM", including the cause in a majority of cases, Messonnier said. But there are many enteroviruses, and they usually cause symptoms similar to the common cold, as do rhinoviruses, adenoviruses and many other viruses.

"We know this can be frightening for parent", said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, during a telephone briefing to reporters last week.

"What makes it worse is not knowing what caused it", said Erica Palacios, whose 2-year-old daughter, Abigail, began showing signs of AFM last month.

"We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk". Some patients experience long-term paralysis requiring long-term care while others may fully recover, according to Pardo-Villamizar.

Viruses, environmental toxins, and genetic disorders may play a role, CDC noted. It causes hand, foot and mouth disease.

"As a parent myself, I understand what it is like to be scared for your child", she said during a CDC telebriefing. The symptoms include: sudden weakness in the arms or legs, facial droop or weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing. "We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness of the arms and legs".

"Back at its peak for every 100 to 1,000 people we saw infected with polio, we saw somebody paralyzed", Greenberg told NBC News.

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