An uptick has been noticed in regards to a mysterious disease which seems to target children. Red flags have been raised as a result within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in Atlanta. The illness in question is called acute flaccid myelitis (or AFM) and it has symptoms similar to the ones of polio.
Since last month, there have been six cases of this illness reported by the health department in Minnesota. According to the CDC, it starts as a common cold but it can partially paralyze children later on. They begin to feel weakness in their arms and legs, the speech becomes slurred and facial drooping occurs as well.
Anyone who displays such symptoms is urged to go see a doctor. As of right now, there is no known cure for this disease. It seems that most of the patients diagnosed with this disease are children and their symptoms are similar to the ones that appear when someone presents complications of infection with certain viruses, such as adenoviruses, poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses or the West Nile virus.
Enteroviruses are known for causing mild illness but they can also affect someone neurologically, leading to encephalitis, meningitis or AFM, although such cases are rare. The CDC tested many AFC patients for a wide range of germs which can cause AFM. However, until now no such pathogen has been found consistently in the patients’ spinal fluid.
This would otherwise be sound proof to indicate the exact cause of AFM, since this disease targets the spinal cord. Right now, the CDC is actively observing and investigating AFM cases while monitoring the disease’s activity. In doing so, they work closely with healthcare providers and both state and local health departments so that the awareness for AFM is increased.