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CDC says cases of polio-like illness on the rise

CDC says cases of polio-like illness on the rise
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Cases of a paralyzing illness affecting mostly children are still on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

The CDC has identified 80 confirmed cases of Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) among 219 reports in 2018, officials said. The cases were spread across 25 states.

Despite an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition, the CDC said. Less than one in a million people in the United States get AFM each year.

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AFM is a serious condition that can cause paralysis and draws comparisons to polio. But the CDC stressed that no patients have tested positive for polio, which has not existed in the U.S. for more than 30 years.

AFM primarily impacts the central nervous system and weakens muscles.

There isn't a cure for AFM, and the agency doesn’t know what causes the illness. The CDC said there is no specific treatment for AFM; there’s no known medical treatment that can reverse the effects once the central nervous system is attacked. Rehabilitation can help some patients regain function, but there are many unknown factors.

“We do not yet know the long-term effects of AFM,” the CDC said. “We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly, and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care.”

The agency is urging health care providers to be vigilant for AFM among their patients.