Seventh child in Minnesota contracts paralyzing illness

Cases of Mysterious Paralyzing Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Reported in 22 states

Five kids in Maryland may have a polio-like disease, as CDC investigates

Health officials don't have an exact cause of AFM.

The other three suspected cases in Arkansas are in Central Arkansas and Southwest Arkansas.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM, and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness".

In a few cases, it appears that the illnesses were linked to viruses, including enterovirus. According to data supplied by the CDC, the illness seems to spike around the month of September.

Parents who observe these symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis should get their child to a health care provider immediately.

"In terms of the diseases I usually deal with, say if it's measles, we know the incubation period, we know the infectious period".

She said the CDC and research partners are casting a wide net trying to figure out what is causing the rise in cases, suggesting scientists have been looking at a variety of viruses and even environmental toxins in their search.

AFM is now reported in 22 states across the USA, federal health officials said.

First recognized in 2014, AFM remains mysterious.

The odds of getting the polio-like disease is less than one in a million; however, two cases in the Bay State have been confirmed and four others are under investigation, the Department of Public Health announced.

"In this cases it's unknown", Ehresmann said. "All of a sudden, 'Mommy I can't zip my trousers".

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He stresses that the condition is still extremely rare with only one in a million children now diagnosed.

Acute flaccid myelitis(AFM) affects the gray matterin the spinal cord, causing sudden muscle weakness and a loss of reflexes. Other possible causes, the CDC says, could be the West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, and non-polio enteroviruses, which can develop into a serious condition for infants and those with compromised immune systems.

Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 362 cases.

The peak season for AFM started in mid-summer and doctors say it should be wrapping up soon as we move closer into winter. The polio-like illness causes limited mobility or paralysis.

That brings the total number of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) patients now being treated at UPMC Children's to six. So far, 2016 was the worst year, with 149 confirmed cases. There have been cases each year since, but the numbers have been higher on alternate years. Yet, experts still do not understand crucial aspects of the disease, including its origins and who is most at risk.

She encouraged parents to wash their children's hands, use insect repellents and update vaccinations. That's when doctors feel it may be a case of AFM and treatment begins. One child with AFM died a year ago.

"Early intervention is definitely always helpful". "You don't need an bad lot of paralyzed children to make this an important problem".

Since August 2014, CDC has seen an increased number of people across the United States with AFM.

The CDC referred calls to individual state health departments.

States are reporting their cases to the CDC, Messonnier said.

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