Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis confirmed in Wisconsin and Minnesota

Cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis confirmed in Wisconsin and Minnesota

The virus has been confirmed for 62 cases in 22 states, including seven in Minnesota, according to media reports.

"Most of the cases continue to occur in children", according to its website.

The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a warning to parents on Wednesday, urging them to recognize the symptoms of AFM.

"Potential symptoms of AFM-for example, if someone is not using an arm-should be reported to the individual's health care provider as soon as possible", the Health Department said.

The 2014 outbreak of AFM coincided with a surge of another virus that caused severe respiratory problems, called EV-D68, However, the CDC could not establish a causal link between AFM and the virus.

It's a rare illness that seems to peak every other year since 2014.

Despite the recent spike in reported cases of AFM, Messonnier underscored that the disease is "incredibly rare" and has been diagnosed annually at a rate of less than one in a million since 2014.

New Jersey has three confirmed, and three more are suspected.

It's too early to know whether the total for 2018 will surpass those previous years. But the long-term effects are still unknown.

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The disease affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter.

Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.

The condition remains very rare.

Danielle Finkle, a mother from IL who was interviewed, said about her son: "He came to me and he's supporting his left arm with his right arm, and he says, 'Mommy my arm's broke'".

Any child experiencing weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs should be examined immediately.

"While some patients have recovered rapidly, others have remain paralyzed and require a high level of ongoing care to support their breathing and monitor for neurological deterioration", he said.

"We are seeing more cases of this in the USA than we are seeing in polio in the whole world", University of Colorado neurologist Kenneth Tyler tells Science.

"It's definitely not been transmissable from person to person from what the investigation so far has seen". Doctors may also recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness. Several cases have been linked to enteroviruses or other germs, but officials have not been able to find a cause for the majority of the cases. To date, no pathogen has been consistently detected in AFM patients.

Follow-up with patients from the 2014 and 2016 waves has shown that most children do not recover from acute flaccid myelitis, for which there now is no cure. There was one death of a child who had AFM, in 2017, said Messonnier. "You don't need an bad lot of paralyzed children to make this an important problem".

Right now, it's unclear what has caused the AFM cases in Illinois, Colorado, and Pittsburgh. States are not required to provide this information to CDC, but they have been voluntarily reporting their data.

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