Cases of Polio-Like Illness May Have Peaked — CDC

Henrietta Strickland
December 5, 2018

In 2018, Texas has had 16 confirmed cases, followed by Colorado with 15, and Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey with nine apiece.

While there's still a lot experts don't know about AFM - including, most importantly, what causes it and how best to treat it - health officials have noted distinct seasonal patterns associated with the condition.

I am not alone.

While that is certainly scary enough, more than 90 percent of the 440 patients diagnosed with AFM since 2014 have been children under the age of 4.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is helping the public understand the facts as it discovers them. Updates on the number of cases confirmed will be provided by CDC. Additionally there are 165 patients under probe as probably having AFM as the illness is familiar.

Majority of children with guaranteed cases encountered a viral disease with manifestations involving fever and cough about three to 10 days prior to the inception of paralysis. In 2016, the number shot back up to 149 confirmed cases, only to drop again in 2017 to 33 confirmed cases.

The pattern of outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis has been observed for every alternate year. Now there is no effective treatment for AFM beyond physical therapy.

AFM is a "polio-like" illness that is rare but serious.

"Based on the number of reported cases of AFM in the United States through November 30, 2018, it appears that the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) for AFM has peaked and will continue to decline for the remainder of 2018", federal health officials said in a statement.

So, what can be done? Enteroviruses are common in the fall and winter and only rarely cause any symptoms worse than what would otherwise be assumed to be the common cold. The EV71 vaccine is already being used in China for hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

But for these or other vaccines that could possibly prevent AFM to be studied or produced in the USA, scientists first would have to be fairly certain that these were the culprit strains of the current outbreak.

And so we worry.

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