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18 October 2018, 02:58 | Melissa Porter
Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that a case from the summer has now been classified as AFM.
- Georgia officials report three cases of a rare polio-like illness in young children, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn cases have spiked nationwide. Those officials are probing another 65 illnesses in those states. To date, 62 of those cases, from 22 states, have been confirmed; investigations of the others are ongoing.
"We know this can be frightening for parents, and I know many parents want to know what signs and symptoms they should be looking out for in their children", she said. A seventh case has been "clinically diagnosed", but remains under review by the CDC. Another spike came in 2016.
Experts don't know what causes the disease that can lead to muscle weakness or difficulty breathing.
There have been no confirmed cases of AFM in Maine this year, according to Emily Spencer, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine CDC.
Messonnier also said none of this year's cases have been linked to West Nile virus.
State and national health authorities are raising the alarm about a polio-like "mystery illness" that has left dozens of children with paralysis and other symptoms in MA and 21 other states. Some patients will also experience facial weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids or slurred speech.
Doctors don't know much about AFM and the lack of answers is what is worrying Doug and Mary Finke.
"I think I would tell parents to be vigilant in looking out for, you know, arms or legs not working, that floppy head, those respiratory symptoms that don't seem consistent with other basic illnesses", she said.
Follow-up with patients from the 2014 and 2016 waves has shown that most children do not recover from acute flaccid myelitis, for which there now is no cure. The CDC still has not pin-pointed exactly what's causing this disorder, but they suspect a virus that circulates this time of the year.
After testing patients' stool specimens, the CDC determined poliovirus is not the cause of the AFM cases.
"Very healthy, just, like, running around doing anything, getting into everything and then just 'bam.' It was so fast, '" Faircloth said.
There were 120 cases in 2014 when the disease was first detected in the United States. A Tennessee mother said her child was the latest diagnosis.
Messonnier said some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly while others continue to struggle with paralysis.
"Early intervention is definitely always helpful".
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