CDC Warns of Polio-Like Virus Striking More US Kids

She announced the numbers in a Tuesday media briefing.

A rare polio-like disease is affecting children across the country and St. Louis has its first reported case of acute flaccid myelitis.

- The North Carolina Department of Health and Services is investigating multiple cases of a mysterious paralyzing illness found in a number of states across the country. Fall 2018 represents the third surge of AFM cases, which seem to spike in late summer and early fall, as Buzzfeed notes.

In an email Tuesday, Maryland Department of Health spokeswoman Brittany Fowler said the CDC will "make a determination about the status of the cases" in Maryland "based on clinical and laboratory information".

New Jersey has three confirmed, and three more are suspected. But that bug - enterovirus D68 - could not be definitively linked to the illnesses. It mostly afflicts children and young adults and can be caused by toxins in one's environment, genetic disorders or viruses such as poliovirus, West Nile virus or adenovirus. Samples from some patients revealed the presence of enteroviruses, but others had been infected with a rhinovirus.

"I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness", she said.

"AFM is a rare, but serious condition that affects the nervous system". More than 90 percent of the cases reported so far are people under 18 years of age.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, according to the CDC, although neurologists might recommend things like physical therapy to help treat muscle weakness on a case-by-case basis.

"As a parent myself I understand what it's like to be scared for your child", Messonnier said.

Doctors in Colorado experienced the same with children who fell ill in 2014, Dominguez said.

"That's when children can really deteriorate and end up on a ventilator", Narula said. "Several of the kids did recover, but the majority of them still had permanent deficits a year out".

The particular strain of virus might have something to do with the severity of AFM and how long its effects last.

Now 3 years old, Hunter has slowly recovered.

The CDC does not know what the cause of the virus is yet.

Faircloth said she wants other parents to be aware.

People can protect themselves from contracting AFM using methods similar to preventing getting the flu, Ellerin said.

Dr. Leslie Benson, assistant director of Children's pediatric neuroimmunology program, said AFM patients show a wide spectrum of symptoms.

And while the causes of acute flaccid myelitis are not known, it is important to practice disease prevention steps, such as staying up-to-date on vaccines and washing your hands.

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