More Reports of Children Being Paralyzed by Mysterious Disease

"And certainly after three cycles of this, when we've looked through all the normal agents, we're looking beyond that to see if there are things beyond normal infectious diseases that could cause this", said Messonnier.

A rare, polio-like disease causing paralysis is affecting children across the country.

There have been 62 confirmed cases of AFM, according to the Center for Disease Control.

At least 65 other illnesses around the USA were being investigated as possible cases.

"I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness", she said.
But that bug - enterovirus D68 - could not be definitively linked to the illnesses.

The disease is extremely rare, with the CDC estimating that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year.

The following year, there were 22 confirmed cases in 17 states, and 2016 saw 149 cases in 39 jurisdictions, including D.C. In 2017 there were 33 confirmed cases in 16 states. But the data reported Tuesday represents "a substantially larger number than in previous months this year", Messonnier said. Experts don't know the long-term effects of the disease. The rare but serious disorder affects a person's nervous system, specifically the spinal cord.

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According to the Douglas County Health Department, a suspected case of AFM is being investigated in a young child. Health officials aren't sure, and they have given no concrete information as to why the illness seems to peak in the late summer and fall.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a warning to parents on Wednesday, urging them to recognize the symptoms of AFM. "Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases". And though enteroviruses have been detected in some paralysis cases, it hasn't been found in others, CDC officials say. However, none of the USA patients tested positive for polio, and, according to Dr. Messonnier, none of this year's cases have been linked to West Nile virus. Since 2014, 386 cases have been confirmed, the CDC said on Tuesday. Since then, there have been more than 350 confirmed cases of the sickness.

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

The agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk for developing this condition or the reasons they may be at higher risk.

"Despite extensive laboratory testing, we have not determined what pathogen or immune response caused the arm or leg weakness and paralysis in most patients".

Doctors diagnose AFM based on a combination of the patient's symptoms and an MRI scan.

There is no specific treatment, and most of the victims recover.

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