Toddler hospitalized with Florida's first case of polio-like disease

Five kids in Maryland may have a polio-like disease, as CDC investigates

Parents are advised to seek medical attention immediately if a child develops any of these symptoms.ADPH is urging people to practice proper handwashing and avoid going out in public if you are sick.

Federal health officials have issued an unusual warning about a growing number of cases of a polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM. She suspects that a host of factors play a role in the likelihood of getting AFM, but more cases must be reviewed in order to find an answer.

Despite the recent spike in reported cases of AFM, Messonnier underscored that the disease is "incredibly rare" and has been diagnosed annually at a rate of less than one in a million since 2014. Though AFM has not claimed any lives this year, there was one death in 2017. Minnesota has seen seven cases in children this year alone. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to conclude that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

"This is a mystery and we haven't solved it yet, so we have to be thinking broadly", said Messonnier, adding, "You'd think that we would finding a single agent and that's not what we're finding".

Doctors are still working to determine the long-term effects of the disease.

Pardo-Villamizar said, "We don't know if the virus is attacking directly the spinal cord, or if the immune response against the virus is producing the damage to the spinal cord".

In addition to viruses, potential causes may include environmental toxins and genetic disorders, according to the CDC, and it "can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases". Maryland's first case was reported September 21.

CNN found 47 confirmed cases of the illness this year, as well as 49 suspected cases that were being investigated.

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People can protect themselves from contracting AFM using methods similar to preventing getting the flu, Ellerin said. Messonnier said that of the cases confirmed this year, none have been related to the polio virus or West Nile virus.

"We have a lot of anger toward the CDC", said Gary, 37, speaking as a member of the AFM parent community. The season however has not ended, and several possible AFM cases remain under investigation. Figures show that the average age of an AFM patient is four.

"Acute flaccid myelitis is a rare and potentially life-threatening disease that is affecting residents across the state", Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. Doctors at Children's have not seen an AFM patient needing a ventilator this year, but have treated such cases in the past, Benson said.

Officials said they will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases.

"It's very frustrating", said Prakash, who's new to Orlando but has diagnosed the condition in his previous job in St. Louis. We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk. It spreads due to contaminated feces & lack of washing hands, which is more common in children and small kids, according to Dr. Woods.

The CDC says there are preventive measures people can take to reduce the risk of infections that could lead to AFM. There is no specific treatment or cure for the illness.

"However, the CDC did not consistently detect EV-D68 in every child with confirmed AFM", he told Healthline in an email.

Another wave hit in 2016, with 149 patients affected in 39 states. States are not required to provide this information to CDC, but they have been voluntarily reporting their data.

Dana Hedgpeth and Justin Wm.

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