Health Care

Tennessee child affected by newest mysterious illness

Tennessee child affected by newest mysterious illness”

The first case of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare polio-like illness that can cause paralysis and mostly affects children, has been confirmed in Florida.

CDC There have been 386 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the US since 2014.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia most recently had two cases in August. But Messonnier said that, in general, parents can help protect their children from diseases by washing their hands, making sure their children are up to date with vaccinations and applying insect repellent to protect against mosquito bites, which can spread viruses.

AFM may be caused by other viruses, including enterovirus, environmental toxins and a condition in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys tissue that it mistakes for foreign material, Messonnier said: "This is a mystery so far, and we haven't solved it yet, so we have to be thinking broadly".

"We're actually looking at everything. We are looking beyond the normal infectious diseases that can cause this". So far in 2018, there have been 62 confirmed cases of the disease, an increase from past year.

The Douglas County Health Department's Phil Rooney said, "This is not a diagnosis like flu or other diseases where you can do blood draw fluids". The pattern appears to be repeating this year.

MA has seen a total of 16 confirmed cases in children since 2014, plus one probable case in an adult.

It's possible that some milder cases haven't been reported by doctors to their state health department or the CDC, but Messonnier believes that number would be small. Another 65 reported cases are under investigation.

About 90 percent of the cases have involved paralysis, according to the CDC. The once-healthy child now relies on a wheelchair to get around, a ventilator to breathe and a feeding tube to eat.

Infection with many different viruses can cause neurological complications. This year is one of them.

"Any weakness, including trouble swallowing, weakness of an extremity, especially in a child who has recently gone through signs of an infection, those would be the main red flags", said Sarah Hopkins.

Messonnier did not address enterovirus D68 directly during the news conference and said the CDC has not yet had time to fully analyze the cases from this summer and fall.

All of the worries about AFM just give parents and grandparents one more thing to worry about. It's also a serious condition.

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

"This is a mystery so far", the CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonnier said in a call Tuesday with reporters. Many people who had polio as children and recovered suffered muscle weakness again decades later.

The particular strain of virus might have something to do with the severity of AFM and how long its effects last.

What can you do to prevent AFM?

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