Health Care

State's first case of AFM confirmed in Nebraska child

State's first case of AFM confirmed in Nebraska child”

There are still no confirmed cases in the state of Nebraska. That's a stark increase from the end of October, when there were just 62 confirmed cases in 22 states. Two cases have been confirmed in NYC.

Last week, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield announced the establishment of an AFM task force to aid in the ongoing investigation "to define the cause of, and improve treatment and outcomes for, patients with AFM". "This Task Force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences".

Another suspected case in the Sarpy/Cass Health Department jurisdiction is undergoing testing by the CDC, health officials say.

"AFM is a rare but serious condition that affects mostly children and we've been watching closely for cases in Nebraska over the last four years", said Dr. Tom Safranek, state epidemiologist for DHHS. Nineteen states have no confirmed cases, and 12 states are reporting only one confirmed case, according to the CDC.

The children involved in this outbreak have tested negative for polio and West Nile. There is no known cause and no cure, as of yet. Cases are still quite rare, however - fewer than 1 in a million children are affected. "AFM can have symptoms that are similar to polio". The majority of patients are children with their average age being 4.

More than 90 percent of the patients with AFM had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before they developed AFM.

"Most of them are between 2 and 8 years old", she said.

Anyone who develops acute weakness of a limb, facial/eye/swallowing/speaking or any other muscles should seek immediate medical care.There are many possible causes of these symptoms (for example several infectious diseases including polio, certain autoimmune diseases, strokes and may others), and evaluation to identify possible causes to help guide treatment and care is indicated.

The New York City Department of Health did not respond by press time with locations of the outbreak in New York City.

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