CDC confirms 62 cases of polio-like illness across US

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 127 suspected cases of a polio-like condition that mostly affects children.

The CDC said that 62 of those cases have been confirmed in 22 states in 2018.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition that can cause paralysis, drawing comparisons to polio. 

AFM primarily impacts the nervous system and weakens muscles. 

There isn’t a cure for AFM and the CDC does not yet know its long-term impacts. 

The causes of the condition aren’t clear, but the CDC said it could be caused by other viruses, environmental toxins and genetic history.

“We are actually looking at everything. We are looking beyond the normal infectious diseases that can cause this,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

AFM has been on the rise in the U.S. since 2014, but is still rare. 

Messonnier said the rate of AFM since that year is “less than one in a million.” 

“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.”

Messonnier said she parents should seek medical care if their child develops sudden muscle weakness or loss of muscle tone in their arms and legs. 

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