Health

10 more cases of the mysterious Polio-like illness confirmed in US

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ATLANTA – There are new concerning new details about a mysterious illness that's paralyzing children.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now confirmed another 10 cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

The latest patients bring this year's total to 72. The illness has been reported in 24-states, including Georgia.

We're hearing from doctors about why AFM is more prevalent in the fall, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning.


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  • Among the people who were diagnosed with AFM since August 2014:
  • The cause of most of the AFM cases remains unknown.
  • We don’t know what caused the increase in AFM cases starting in 2014.
  • We have not yet determined who is at higher risk for developing AFM, or the reasons why they may be at higher risk.
  • We do not yet know the long-term effects of AFM. We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly, and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care.

CDC is actively investigating AFM cases and monitoring disease activity. We are working closely with healthcare providers and state and local health departments to increase awareness for AFM. We are encouraging healthcare providers to recognize and report suspected cases of AFM to their health departments, and for health departments to send this information to CDC to help us understand the nationwide burden of AFM. CDC is also actively looking for risk factors and possible causes of this condition.

CDC activities include:

  • Urging healthcare providers to be vigilant for AFM among their patients, and to send information about suspected cases to their health departments
     
  • Verifying clinical information of suspected AFM cases submitted by health departments, and working with health departments and neurologists to classify cases using a case definition adopted by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
     
  • Testing specimens, including stool, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid, from suspected AFM cases
     
  • Working with healthcare providers, experts, and state and local health departments to investigate and better understand the AFM cases, including potential causes and how often the condition occurs
     
  • Providing new and updated information to healthcare providers, health departments, policymakers, the public, and partners in various formats, such as scientific journals and meetings, and CDC’s AFM website and social media
     
  • Using multiple research methods to further explore the potential association of AFM with possible causes as well as risk factors for AFM. This includes collaborating with experts to review MRI scans of people from the past 10 years to determine how many AFM cases occurred before 2014, updating treatment and management protocols, and engaging with several academic centers to conduct active surveillance simultaneously for both AFM and respiratory viruses.

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