'Polio like' illness spreads to 22 states

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A mystery illness that attacks the nervous system, paralyzing some children, has many parents concerned across the country.

The OSDH has kept the identity of the patient confidential, saying only that they are under 18 years of age and that the case is not now considered a public health risk. "It's just mind blowing", said Spencer's mother Serena Hill.

The Hill family is from Chattanooga.

Since then, Aamira has in a bed in the hospital's intensive care unit. Minnesota has seen seven cases in children this year alone.

The first case of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare polio-like illness that can cause paralysis and mostly affects children, has been confirmed in Florida. Ninety percent of those affected have been children. It causes sudden muscle weakness, but what drove many of these children's parents to action was a more extreme reaction: paralysis. It causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to weaken and can even cause paralysis.

"Overall, the rate of AFM over the years that it has been diagnosed which is since 2014 is less than one in a million".

"We have not been able to find a cause for the majority of these AFM cases", Messonnier admitted. The pattern appears to be repeating this year.

Since officials have been unable so far to determine how the disease spreads, they are starting to count suspected cases as well as confirmed to better anticipate increases over the coming months.

What's behind the rise in reports?

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In some individuals, health officials have determined that the condition was from infection with a type of virus that causes severe respiratory illness. "For some of the previous cases we've identified one pathogen or another, but we have no unifying diagnosis".

20, the CDC had confirmed 38 cases in 16 states, which aren't required to report AFM cases to the CDC. It is important that tests are done as soon as possible after someone develops symptoms.

At this point, health officials are not sure what causes AFM but say that it can occur after a viral infection, West Nile Virus and other illnesses. "The hallmark is sudden onset of weakness in the arms or the legs". Some also experience facial droop, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, or slurred speech. We did swimming to help him as well.

"That's when children can really deteriorate and end up on a ventilator", Narula explains.

"What parents have to know is if your child suddenly has a weak arm or leg, is not speaking properly, has a stiff neck or a wobbly neck - call the doctor immediately", pediatrician Dr. Laura Popper said. "But the appearance of the AFM symptoms is actually very rare".

Unfortunately, there's no specific treatment for AFM. Treatments may vary from case to case. "So we're very lucky that he had (physical therapy) through early intervention".

Some patients have recovered movement; some have not.

Nancy Messonnier, a doctor at the CDC, called it a "mystery illness".

The CDC encourages people to prevent the disease by staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites.

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