Spike reported nationwide in cases of baffling paralysis in children

Acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, is rare, but the Centers for Disease Control said it has become more common recently.

To give parents, healthcare workers, and public health officials a look at what to expect, she said the CDC will report suspected cases this year, as well as confirmed ones.

It shows distinct abnormalities of the spinal cord gray matter on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

CDC began tracking the condition in 2014, when there were 120 confirmed cases.

Standardized surveillance was established in 2015 to monitor this illness and attempt to estimate the baseline incidence.

The average age of children is about 4, she said, and 90 percent of cases the CDC has been studying since 2014 have involved children 18 or younger.

Health officials said five kids in Maryland are believed to have contracted a virus this fall that has symptoms similar to polio.

The mysterious increase in cases of AFM, as it's called, was first spotted in the late summer and autumn of 2014. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now".

Dr. Mobeen Rathore, an infectious disease specialist at UF Health, told News4Jax on Tuesday that it's unclear whether any cases have been confirmed in Florida, but it is being investigated in the state.

The outlook for patients with AFM can vary from a quick recovery to ongoing paralysis, Messonnier said. Officials will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases. "As a parent myself, I understand what it's like to be scared for your child", she said. Despite extensive laboratory and other testing, CDC has not been able to find the cause for the majority of the cases.

But the agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk nor why they may be at higher risk. CDC has tested many different specimens from patients with this condition for a wide variety of pathogens, or germs, that can cause AFM.

So far 62 of the cases-marked by sudden onset of limb weakness and decreased muscle tone-have been confirmed, Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said today at a media briefing.

The CDC is investigating the cases and monitoring the disease, and encourages people to prevent the disease by staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and protecting against mosquito bites.

There is no specific treatment for AFM, but doctors may recommend physical or occupational therapy to help with arm or leg weakness.

On Monday, CNN reached out to health departments in every state and received responses from 48 states plus the District of Columbia.

States are not required to provide this information to the CDC but have been voluntarily reporting their data.

Recommended News

  • Fortnite adds Quadcrasher and in-game tourneys, Disco Domination rolls over

    Fortnite adds Quadcrasher and in-game tourneys, Disco Domination rolls over

    The Fall Skirmish will conclude with a pair of in-person tournaments at TwitchCon 2018 , held at the end of October. All Tournaments will have a target score and reaching this will award Fortnite players with a shiny pin.

    Australia considers recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital

    Morrison said Australia remained committed to finding a two-state solution to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians. As well as the West Bank and Gaza, Israel captured the eastern side of the city in 1967 from Jordanian forces.
    Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots reach almost  $1 billion combined

    Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots reach almost $1 billion combined

    Since there was no overall victor in Saturday's Powerball drawing, the jackpot has risen to $ 345 million . The other multi-state lottery game, the Powerball , also has a jackpot with a sizable sum.
  • Gavrilova exits in Hong Kong Open quarters

    Gavrilova exits in Hong Kong Open quarters

    She added: "I was feeling it and my legs were a bit exhausted but I'm kind of used to it and this wasn't the reason I lost". Yastremska started the second set in much the same style, immediately breaking Wang with a forehand victor .
    Steelers still haven't heard from Bell

    Steelers still haven't heard from Bell

    So Bell could be in for a surprise if/when he shows up, and he may not like what he hears from the Steelers. He's just going to keep yanking at the Steelers' leg and make their relationship even more strained.
    Trump says Mattis may go: 'I think he's sort of a Democrat'

    Trump says Mattis may go: 'I think he's sort of a Democrat'

    Trump said the two maintained "a very good relationship", but he allowed for the possibility Mattis would leave. We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment .
  • Benavidez, Crawford get heated at weigh-in ahead of title fight in Omaha

    Benavidez, Crawford get heated at weigh-in ahead of title fight in Omaha

    This was a fight Crawford personally asked for and he is ready to humble the undefeated Arizona based boxer. Crawford kept his pre-fight promise of not shaking Benavidez Jr's hand after the bout in Nebraska.
    Russian Orthodox Church breaks with Constantinople in row over Ukraine

    Russian Orthodox Church breaks with Constantinople in row over Ukraine

    However, the Russian Orthodox Church also said it hoped Constantinople would change its mind so that a schism could be avoided. The Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church since the late 1600s.
    TRUMP TO WARREN: Apologize for 'Perpetrating Fraud' Against the American Public

    TRUMP TO WARREN: Apologize for 'Perpetrating Fraud' Against the American Public

    Hoskin said the tests can not even reliably determine lineage among North or South American tribal groups. When asked about it Monday, Trump said he'd donate only if he " can test her personally ".
  • Palm Phone hands-on: an Android phone for your phone

    Palm Phone hands-on: an Android phone for your phone

    However, the phone can apparently last all day on something called "Life Mode", which helps filter out calls and notifications. Palm Phone is kind of like a nicotine patch for the smartphone addicts, created to slowly wean you off your smartphone.
    Bills' Allen (elbow) questionable to return vs. Texans

    Bills' Allen (elbow) questionable to return vs. Texans

    Unfortunately, a late pick-six cost the team a victory, as the Bills lost the game by a score of 20-13. Bills LG Vladimir Ducasse left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.
    Kanye West wants to build hospitality school in Uganda

    Kanye West wants to build hospitality school in Uganda

    Museveni later tweeted : " I held fruitful discussions with the duo on how to promote Uganda's tourism and the arts ". Controversial American rapper Kanye West visited Uganda immediately after a meeting with U.S.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.