Health Department: 7th Case Of AFM Diagnosed In Minnesota

Health Department: 7th Case Of AFM Diagnosed In Minnesota

Maryland health officials said their first case was reported to them September 21. More than 90 percent of AFM cases have involved children 18 or younger, with an average age of just 4 years old.

There is now no cure for AFM, known cause in most cases, or clear explanation for why some people who contract the enterovirus experience symptoms and others do not.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis include sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said symptoms include arm/leg weakness, facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes and trouble swallowing.

"We don't know why in the majority of cases, we don't even find a cause for the illness, we can't determine what virus may have caused it, and so that's been challenging nationwide", said Susann Ahrabi-Fard, communicable disease epidemiologist with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Authorities say they are still awaiting confirmed lab results from the CDC.

Parents should contact their health care provider as soon as possible if they see any symptom of AFM in their child - for example, if their child is not using his arm.

Neurological conditions like it have a variety of causes, such as viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders.

One child has died from the condition. Numbers dropped drastically in 2015 and 2017 - to 22 and 33, respectively - but were back up again in 2016 at 149. In addition, officials do not yet know the long-term effects of AFM.

There is no specific treatment for AFM.

The cases in 2014 and 2016 were partly attributed to particular strains of respiratory germs called enteroviruses, which spread the most in the summer and fall.

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Doctors diagnose AFM based on a combination of the patient's symptoms and an MRI scan.

"This is a pretty dramatic disease", Messonnier said.

Of the cases announced Tuesday, 62 have been confirmed in 22 states, according to Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the CDC. "Right now we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases", she said.

"I want parents to know how hard we're working to try to identify the cause of AFM and when we get information that will help them understand it, we're going to make that information available", Messonnier said.

The CDC says this is still a rare condition that affects less than one in 1 million people per year.

"There's better recovery this year in the kids we're seeing here with EV A71", Dominguez said, as opposed to EV D68.

"In this cases it's unknown", Ehresmann said.

Still, both stated because there isn't a clear picture of which children may be at risk for developing AFM, parents should be observant for any changes if their child should get sick.

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