Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Possible case of AFM in Douglas County

Possible case of AFM in Douglas County

Officials said three cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been reported in North Carolina this year - two probable and one confirmed.

And for now, it's hard to say if 2018 will equal or surpass spikes seen in 2014 and 2016, Messonnier said, adding that state and federal health officials haven't finished the whole diagnostic algorithm for numerous cases reported over the past several weeks. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare even with the increase in cases we're seeing right now".

So far across the county, 62 cases of the rare polio-like neurological condition have been reported.

An analysis found the average age of the patients in confirmed cases over the past five years is 4 years old, and 90 percent occur in children 18 and younger.

More broadly, she noted, "there is a lot we don't know about AFM".

According to yesterday's warning issued by the CDC, the disease could be linked to environmental toxins, genetic disorders or other viruses such as West Nile. The disease affects the body's nervous system and can cause paralysis.

The condition is quite rare, and the CDC says that it only affects 1 out of 1 million people in the United States, and most cases have involved children. So far, 2016 was the worst year, with 149 confirmed cases. IL health officials said they're working with the CDC to better classify the cases.

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Physicians first began noticing an increase in AFM patients in 2014, with roughly 120 confirmed cases. It's also important to note that the number of known or suspected cases is small, so the odds of contracting the illness are extremely low.

The CDC has been tracking cases of AFM since a noted spike in 2014. "Children can also have trouble swallowing, trouble with their speech, facial droop and trouble with their eye muscles".

Officials with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital told WVLT News that Hill was receiving treatment in an area of the hospital where patients diagnosed with AFM would be cared for. The CDC says there are preventative measures people can take to reduce the risk of infections that could to AFM.

Other enteroviruses have also been found in patients with AFM.

"As we work to better understand what is causing AFM, parents can help protect their children from serious diseases by following prevention steps like washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended immunizations and using insect repellent", Messonnier said.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the disease, one parent posted that her daughter was diagnosed with AFM four years ago after catching enterovirus.

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