Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Florida toddler hospitalized with polio-like illness

Florida toddler hospitalized with polio-like illness

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have taken the significant step of issuing a public warning about an outbreak of a mysterious new disease that causes symptoms that are eerily similar to polio, reports the Washington Post. Minnesota has seen seven cases in children this year alone. The difference is that they don't know what causes a particular child to come down with AFM after being exposed.

The mystery disease may be caused by an enterovirus or rhinovirus, but these viruses have been found only in a few patients, which does not explain the increased number of cases at the end of summer.

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014.

"Overall, the rate of AFM over the years that it has been diagnosed which is since 2014 is less than one in a million."
CDC has been actively investigating these AFM cases, and we continue to receive information about suspected AFM cases.

Like other neurological diseases, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, physical therapy or occupational therapy are the only treatment options for people with AFM. At this point, there appears to be no geographic clusters in the illness.

"We have not been able to find a cause for the majority of these AFM cases", she said.

One of the two Allegheny County children with confirmed cases is Bryson Ackermann , the young son of Pine-Richland High School basketball coach Jeffrey Ackermann.

Some patients diagnosed with AFM were found to have enterovirus D68, a cousin of poliovirus, in their systems. We are trying to help the family out with the many medical expenses, travel cost, parking cost, food cost and time off work for both Jeff and Jill. However, the illness has been on the rise in the USA since 2014.

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On Monday, CNN reached out to health departments in every state and received responses from 48 states plus the District of Columbia.

The news of a poliolike disease spreading around a state or across the country is unsettling news to many parents.

Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms. "There's going to be a delay, a lag in the timing of some of these reports".

The CDC is not saying how many states have patients under investigation, only that it's more than 22.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM", Messonnier told NPR in a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday.

The number of confirmed cases reported to date is similar to levels reported in the fall of 2014 and 2016.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, so far there has been one confirmed case in Ohio. Officials advised parents not to panic but remain vigilant for any sudden onset of symptoms.

Jackson, who also saw persistent muscle weakness in her patients, said she believes the CDC may be hesitant to specify the long-term effects of disease because existing studies have included only small numbers of patients.

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