Published: Thu, October 25, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Rare polio-like disease reported in Ohio

Rare polio-like disease reported in Ohio

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday that there are 155 patients under investigation this year for acute flaccid myelitis, a condition that that can cause paralysis and mostly affects children. It's characterized by sudden, asymmetric weakness in the arms or legs.

It starts out with symptoms similar to a common cold, but it could cause paralysis. There are reports that some patients have needed breathing assistance.

To improve research into AFM, Greenberg has called for mandatory reporting of the condition and centralized testing for infectious agents so researchers can better understand the full scope of the outbreak. (Of the 155 cases this year, 62 are confirmed in 22 states).

Cases of a rare polio-like condition have begun turning up in some Canadian children, following reports of dozens of cases in the recent weeks. Since the beginning of the year, 127 cases of AFM were reported in the US, including one death.

"We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk", she said.

"We're already starting to think about will she be able to drive, will she ever be able to play soccer again", her mother Elizabeth Holcombe said.

But since 2014, there has not been any notable increase in cases of EV-D68, even as cases of AFM rise and fall. Overall, 90 percent of cases occur in children 18 and younger.

Dr. John Christenson is a professor of clinical pediatrics at Riley's Children's Health in Indianapolis.

Doctors say they are baffled by what's causing an uptick in cases of a paralyzing, polio-like condition among kids across the U.S.

"What happens is that with time you build immunity", said Christenson. Environmental toxins or a condition where the body's immune system attacks and destroys body tissue, could also be factors.

"We don't have a vaccine". "I'm basing that on what we've seen in other years". "Everybody should have a flu shot", said Christenson. That virus has been identified as one cause of AFM.

"I encourage parents to seek medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms or legs", Messonnier said.

People should also try to not get bitten by mosquitos-especially in countries where the mosquitos carry the West Nile virus-by using repellent, staying indoors at dusk and dawn, and removing standing or stagnant water near where they're living.

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