by Evie Fordham
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is searching for answers on 127 suspected and confirmed cases of a polio-like disease leaving children across the U.S. paralyzed.
Sixty-two cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) have been confirmed in 22 states out of 127 reports of AFM. Those numbers put 2018 on track to have a record number of AFM cases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC told NBC News.
“We have not been able to find the cause of the majority of AFM cases …” Messonnier said according to NBC News. “AFM is a rare condition. It’s also a serious condition. So we want to encourage parents to seek medical care right away if you or your child develop symptoms of AFM such as sudden weakness or paralysis of the arms and legs.”
Patients with AFM often need help from a ventilator to breathe, and they can be disabled for years AFM can also strike people older than 18, according to NBC News. Confirmed AFM cases peaked at 149 in 2016 after the illness first grabbed headlines with 120 confirmed cases in 2014, according to CDC data. The illness appears to spike every other year.
“This is alarming. 6 cases in MN since mid-September [and] 362 cases across the country since 2014. I’ve called on the CDC to conduct an expedited investigation and respond to the recent cases of AFM,” Klobuchar wrote on Twitter Oct. 10.
This is alarming. 6 cases in MN since mid-September & 362 cases across the country since 2014. I've called on the CDC to conduct an expedited investigation and respond to the recent cases of AFM. https://t.co/wSgKAz3mgA
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) October 10, 2018
To confirm a patient has AFM, doctors have to run an MRI scan to find evidence of damage to the spinal cord. So far, no case of AFM has tested positive for polio, which has been eradicated in the U.S.
AFM can take root after a viral infection like enterovirus and West Nile Virus, Messonnier told NBC News.
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Evie Fordham is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.