Published: Thu, November 29, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

One confirmed case of polio-like disease found in Louisiana

One confirmed case of polio-like disease found in Louisiana

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 286 possible cases of a polio-like condition called acute flaccid myelitis, including 116 confirmed ones in 31 states, the agency said Monday.

A mysterious polio-like illness that is sickening and in some cases paralyzing children is on the rise with at least 116 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis so far this year, federal health officials said.

Despite the outbreak, "less than one to two in a million children in the United States will get AFM every year", the CDC said.

CDC experts say, more than 90% of patients with a confirmed case of AFM had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection prior to developing AFM.

Colorado and Texas have reported the most confirmed cases with 15 and 14, respectively.

2018's numbers are comparable to recent years-2014 (120 cases from 34 states) and 2016 (149 confirmed cases in 39 states and DC).

It's not clear whether there is more of a risk of AFM in states that have a higher number of cases or if those states are just better at identifying and reporting patients. A year ago there were just 33 confirmed cases in 16 states, while 2015 saw just 22 confirmed cases in 17 states. Although the CDC has encouraged doctors to report cases, there is no requirement to do so.

One phenomenon researchers have observed is the illness is particularly prevalent between August and October, a period when many viruses commonly circulate, according to the CDC.

An additional 170 possible cases remain unconfirmed and under investigation, the CDC said.

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