AFM in 22 states: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Most States Facing Confirmed Or Possible Cases Of Polio Like Illness

The other case of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, occurred in August, and four others are under investigation in MA.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now 62 cases across 22 states this year. The agency said it is very concerned about it.

AFM is a condition that affects the nervous system and causes muscle weakness, according to the CDC. But she stressed that despite the increase in cases, the illness is still very rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in a million people in the US each year. All told 386 cases of AFM have been confirmed since 2014, more than 90 percent in children younger than 18.

20, the CDC had confirmed 38 cases in 16 states, which aren't required to report AFM cases to the CDC.

In an email Tuesday, Maryland Department of Health spokeswoman Brittany Fowler said the CDC will "make a determination about the status of the cases" in Maryland "based on clinical and laboratory information". Most of the cases are in children under the age of 19, with kids under the age of 4 appearing to make up the biggest portion of cases.

The long-term effects are not known, and outcomes have been different for patients, with some recovering quickly and others having lasting paralysis and requiring ongoing care.

The disease made headlines recently when news broke of cases in Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Iowa and other states.

Parents and clinicians should remember that this is a rare condition, affecting less than one in a million people, she said.

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"CDC has been actively investigating AFM, testing specimens and monitoring disease since 2014, when we first saw an increase in cases", Messonnier said. Another 149 were reported in 2016.

"What we have been told is that he's the best case scenario of a hard situation", she said. None have tested positive for poliovirus.

"This is a mystery and we haven't solved it yet, so we have to be thinking broadly", said Messonnier, adding, "You'd think that we would finding a single agent and that's not what we're finding".

"As a parent myself I understand what it's like to be scared for your child", Messonnier said.

Messonnier also said none of this year's cases have been linked to West Nile virus.

All of the worries about AFM just give parents and grandparents one more thing to worry about.

CDC is not releasing a list of the 22 states with confirmed and suspected cases because of privacy issues.

Parents can best protect their children from serious diseases by taking prevention steps, like washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended vaccines, and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites, she said.

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