The CDC has confirmed 62 cases of AFM in 22 states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. She said in her experience, four is the average age of the patients, though it is possible in younger children.
The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases.
While AFM is incredibly rare, the current rate is less than one case for every 1 million Americans, Messonnier urged parents and health care providers to be on the lookout for symptoms.
"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".
Each year since then, usually in August or September, the CDC has logged a spike in the illness. It dipped back down to 33 in 2017, before rising again in 2018.
Quinton Hill, 7, of Lakeville, Minn., lost movement in one arm last month due to a mysterious syndrome known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to conclude that this year will be the same as the earlier years.
Unfortunately, there is now no specific treatment plan for the disease, though medics may advise physical or occupational therapy on a case-by-case basis.
Although there is unlikely to be a vaccine or specific treatment anytime soon, there are still things researchers can do to combat AFM, Messacar says, such as keeping better track of enterovirus D68 and A71 infections, learning more about the link between the viruses and AFM, and understanding the genetic changes that have occurred in enterovirus D68 to make it more risky.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of 127 patients with symptoms of the disease this year.
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The Norton cases are believed to be the only ones in Kentucky to date so far this year. Some children with AFM recover full motion and strength-usually within a few months-whereas in others the nerve damage seems permanent, she says. As pediatrician Ashanti Woods said, it behaves more like polio. In many other cases, Williams said, the cause of AFM is unknown.
AFM attacks the patient's nervous system (and the spinal cord, in particular) resulting in extreme weakness of the arms and legs. The CDC says viruses like West Nile and poliovirus may lead to conditions found in AFM.
Health officials have determined the condition is caused by a viral infection, but they have been unable to determine the specific virus it is linked to. Considering the lack of detail of the CDC data, there's no telling the location of cases that have been upgraded from "suspected" to "confirmed".
Officials said they will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases.
"We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk".
AFM is an extremely rare condition that causes muscles and reflexes to become weak. No pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.
It spreads due to contaminated feces & lack of washing hands, which is more common in children and small kids, according to Dr. Woods.
But, if their child is diagnosed, parents should prepare for extensive physical therapy - therapy that isn't always covered by insurance, he said. She suspects that a host of factors play a role in the likelihood of getting AFM, but more cases must be reviewed in order to find an answer.
The states Daily Mail Online is now aware of with confirmed cases includes: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.
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