Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

CDC: AFM cases appear to have peaked for the year

CDC: AFM cases appear to have peaked for the year

Updates on the number of cases confirmed will be provided by CDC.

There is a disease that has affected many children in the United States similar to polio, so far there has been one confirmed case in North Dakota.

As AFM cases have surged in the fall - the third spike since 2014 - federal health officials and clinicians across the country have raced to understand the underlying cause of the disease.

The CDC says that AFM is a rare but serious condition. More than 400 confirmed cases, majority in children, have been reported in the past four years, and one child with AFM died last year. Most people will have sudden onset of arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes/ facial droopiness. Clinicians say the condition is underdiagnosed and underreported. Symptoms of this type are often the result of a viral infection; and a specific family of enterovirus-EV-D68-is a prime suspect in these cases. And the children with AFM had only had damage in the spinal cord's gray matter ¾ where the bodies of the nerve cells reside ¾ and not in the white matter-where the connections between nerve cells that send messages back and forth reside-or the brain like those cases with alternative diagnoses. In addition, there are 165 patients under investigation as possibly having AFM, as the illness is known.

Without clear guidance, doctors are trying several different kinds of treatment.


AFM is found mainly in children and can lead to paralysis.

In its weekly apprised on cases of the ailment the agency said there have been 134 chronic cases in 33 states this year.

With AFM, CDC has seen a pattern of higher numbers of confirmed cases every 2 years: In 2014, CDC confirmed about 120 cases of AFM; in 2015, 22 cases; in 2016, the number of confirmed cases increased to 149 and in 2017, the number of confirmed cases was 33. Cases have been confirmed in 33 states including Iowa and IL.

The number of cases of the mysterious polio-like illness continues to rise.

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