What is acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the polio-like illness causing worry?

Mysterious paralyzing illness found among kids in 22 states	 	 	 			Getty Images

Mysterious paralyzing illness found among kids in 22 states Getty Images

Officials say this is not considered a public health threat, so they will not release which part of the state the case was confirmed in, or any other details.

Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, is rare, but the Centers for Disease Control said it has become more common recently.

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases". In 2018, the federal health watchdog confirmed 62 instances of the disease - which causes limb weakness and can paralyse sufferers. "We want to encourage parents to seek medical care right away if you or your child develops symptoms of AFM, such as sudden weakness and loss of muscle tone in your arms or legs", Messonnier told Reuters.

The following year, there were 22 confirmed cases in 17 states, and 2016 saw 149 cases in 39 jurisdictions, including D.C. In 2017 there were 33 confirmed cases in 16 states.

USA health officials on Tuesday reported a jump in cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children, and said it seems to be following an every-other-year pattern.

The agency is investigating 127 cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), according to Reuters on October 17.

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CDC officials say they haven't found the cause.

More than 90 percent of cases are in children. The agency had a teleconference with health providers slated for later today, and it provided a toolkit for diagnosing AFM, along with instructions for reporting suspected cases.

People can protect themselves from contracting AFM using methods similar to preventing getting the flu, Ellerin said.

"This is a mystery so far", Messonnier said, describing AFM as a "pretty dramatic disease", which preys on a child's nervous system.

Because the disorder is rare - afflicting less than one in a million people - doctors weren't considering it initially, Hill said. Since the CDC started keeping track in August 2014, there have been 386 cases of AFM - mostly in children.

MA has seen a total of 16 confirmed cases in children since 2014, plus one probable case in an adult.

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The cases in 2014 and 2016 were partly attributed to particular strains of respiratory germs called enteroviruses, which spread the most in the summer and fall.

Some patients diagnosed with this condition have recovered quickly but others continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care, she said.

"As a parent myself, I understand what it is like to be scared for your child".

Generally, most children with AFM see subtle improvements over time, but "most have long-term weakness", she said.

On Monday, CNN reached out to health departments in every state and received responses from 48 states plus the District of Columbia.

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