Most States Facing Confirmed Or Possible Cases Of Polio-Like Illness

17 Octobre, 2018, 11:09 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed frustration and concern Tuesday about a puzzling surge in cases of polio-like paralysis, mostly in children, being reported across the country this year. It affects fewer than one in a million people each year across the country, the CDC estimates.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but treatments that have been tried include immunoglobulin replacement therapy, corticosteroids, plasma exchange and antiviral therapy, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The condition is not new, but officials started to see a rise in cases in 2014; and there was another spike in 2016. Those officials are probing another 65 illnesses in those states.

There have been no confirmed cases of AFM in Maine this year, according to Emily Spencer, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine CDC. Another kind of virus is suspected, but it's been found in only some of the cases.

Officials said they will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases.

Symptoms of AFM are similar to a severe respiratory illness along with a fever, but those progress into neurological symptoms. Another spike came in 2016.

So far 62 of the cases-marked by sudden onset of limb weakness and decreased muscle tone-have been confirmed, Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said today at a media briefing.

The disorder has been diagnosed in unvaccinated children and also in children who have received some of their recommended vaccinations, she said.

"It attacked [my child's] body and her spinal cord a certain way that seems to be happening to other kids too", said Josh Payne, the parent of a child battling AFM. Only one death has been reported, which involved an AFM illness reported in 2017.

CDC officials say they haven't found the cause.

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Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.

Messonnier said that of the cases confirmed this year, none have been related to the polio virus or West Nile virus.

Some patients recover quickly, while others experience paralysis and require ongoing care.

The agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk for developing this condition or the reasons they may be at higher risk.

She said that CDC has tested every stool specimen from AFM patients.

About 120 confirmed cases were reported in 2014. But so far, no pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.

Parents can best protect their children from serious diseases by taking prevention steps, such as washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended vaccines and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites, Messonnier said.

The illness affects the patient's spinal cord. But some state health departments have been making public their reported cases.

Kate Fowlie, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said in an email that many states are voluntarily reporting their data on the disease and that "many parents are coming forward to tell their stories".

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