Polio-like illness has USA parents on edge

Acute Flaccid Myelitis which causes paralysis has been reported in several children's hospitals in Eastern Canada

Acute Flaccid Myelitis which causes paralysis has been reported in several children's hospitals in Eastern

Incidents of the disease have increased in the US this year, with more than than 60 cases confirmed and another 65 now under investigation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rare instances will result in acute flaccid myelitis, a serious condition that causes weakness in the arms or legs or even paralysis.

Canadian health officials report 33 total cases-18 confirmed and 15 being investigated as of this week.

The CDC said: "While we don't know the cause of most of the AFM cases, it's always important to practice disease prevention steps, such as staying up-to-date on vaccines, washing your hands, and protecting yourself from mosquito bites". You are significantly more likely to be struck by lightning (about 1 in 14,600 people are, according to the National Weather Service) than to contract AFM, which affects less than one in 1 million people.

Dr. Vogel also noted most of the reported cases in the U.S.so far have been in the northern regions of the country while the CDC reports cases worldwide. That is roughly 50 percent more than have already been confirmed.

"If we don't know what causes it, we don't know how to treat it", Dr. Vogel said.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM", including the cause in a majority of cases, Messonnier said. "You can see enterovirus particles in the motor neurons."It's not proof, Tyler said".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to determine a cause. It is already required for a number of diseases, including West Nile virus and influenza, but not for AFM.

Shah says the best thing parents can do is to "continue being good parents".

The toddler had one of the classic symptoms of the illness that usually affects the spinal cord, and often follows a viral infection: sudden muscle weakness in the arms or legs.

The Atlanta-based health agency is investigating into 65 additional possible cases.

"You should seek medical care right away if you or your child develops any of these symptoms". Environmental toxins or a condition where the body's immune system attacks and destroys body tissue, could also be factors.

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