Cases of polio-like illness on the decline, CDC says

The number of cases of a mysterious polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is on the decline, according to federal officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday said the number of people under investigation for AFM peaked earlier this year, and will continue to decline for the remainder of 2018.

So far in 2018, 134 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 33 states out of 299 cases reported to the CDC. This is an increase of 18 confirmed cases from the previous week, but most of the latest confirmed AFM cases occurred in September and October, the agency said.

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Over 90 percent of confirmed cases of AFM have been in children, and since 2014, AFM cases have occurred in 46 states and the District of Columbia, the CDC said.

AFM first appeared in 2014, when 120 children across 34 states were stricken with mysterious muscle weakness. The CDC said a pattern has emerged of higher numbers of confirmed cases every two years.

In 2015, only 22 cases were confirmed, but that number rose to 149 in 2016. Historically, most cases are reported between August and October, and the CDC said there was a marked reduction in cases in November.

That pattern appears to be repeating in 2018 because states have reported fewer suspicious cases over the past couple of weeks. The CDC said it expects this decline to continue.