CDC Confirms Oklahoma Case of Rare, Polio-Like Disease

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According to a Tuesday press briefing, there have been 62 confirmed cases across 22 states in the U.S.A in 2018.

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases". "We think the majority of cases are coming to our attention".

Although symptoms may appear similar to polio, AFM is not polio and it is not contagious. Polio was eradicated in the vaccination.

"We're actually looking at everything".

"We need to pay attention to this, because the long-term consequences the children and their parents suffer is huge", said Dr. Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, a neurological disease expert with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

In an email Tuesday, Maryland Department of Health spokeswoman Brittany Fowler said the CDC will "make a determination about the status of the cases" in Maryland "based on clinical and laboratory information".

Last year the number dropped to 16, making the pattern one that hits harder every other year.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia most recently had two cases in August.

The agency has not yet confirmed whether the New Hampshire patient, a juvenile from Rockingham County, contracted AFM or if it is another illness, said Jake Leon, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The states reporting confirmed cases are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

An illness that affects the nervous system and causes muscle weakness has been diagnosed in dozens of children around the country. This can require urgent ventilator support (breathing machine). Most people recover quickly from a polio infection, but it can cause fever and stiffness. There has been one AFM-related death, which happened in 2017. But she stressed that despite the increase in cases, the illness is still very rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in a million people in the USA each year. 90 percent of those have been in children.

According to the National Institutes of Health, AFM is classified as a rare disease. Fewer than one in a million get the disease.

The condition remains very rare. It's also a serious condition. Some children paralyzed by AFM have eventually regained their ability to walk, but need time.

It's a rare disease, but the CDC thought that they might glean more about the nature of the outbreak, as well as clues about how to contain it, by releasing a report to the public. With the sudden onset of weakness, patients are "generally seeking medical care" and being evaluated by neurologists, infectious disease doctors and pediatricians.

It's important for parents to know the symptoms so they can get their child immediate medical care and help doctors get a handle on the disease.

What can you do to prevent AFM?