‘Polio-Like’ Illness Occurrences on the Rise

*First off I want to emphasise that the following content is informational only. I am not intending to cause panic, I’m just sharing information that could be relevant to some of you.*

Acute flaccid myelitis- Affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called the gray matter causing the muscles and reflexes to weaken.

  • Acute- Describing a disease that consists of an onset of symptoms of short duration, that is rapidly progressing and needs urgent care.
  • Flaccid- Lacking normal muscle tone, such as can occur with neuritis, poliomyelitis and stroke paralysis.
  • Myelitis- Inflammation of the spinal cord or bone marrow.

This condition has been seen before but rarely, that is until 2014, which is when the disease occurrence started to rise. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that less than 1 in one million people will contract AFM every year. The recent cases reported to the CDC have mostly affected children.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment announced that 14 cases of AFM have occured in the state this year. Six cases of AFM were diagnosed in Minnesota (a state that may see a case less than once a year). On October 9th, a hospital in Pittsburgh confirmed that 3 children were currently being treated for suspected AFM. October 10th, the Illinois Department of Public Health received recent reports that 9 children had been diagnosed with the condition. As a whole this year there have been 38 cases in 16 states reported thus far. Over the last four year period more than 350 cases have been reported within the United States.

What to look for symptom wise…

AFM affects the nervous system and causes muscle weakness, particularly in the legs and arms, along with a loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Additionally symptoms could include facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes, swallowing and slurred speech and (potentially) the ability to breath may be impacted.

The cause of AFM and the reason for the increase of cases since 2014 is unknown, yet some cases coincide with an outbreak of a respiratory illness related to an enterovirus D68 outbreak in 2014, actually AFM may have a variety of causes including viruses such as poliovirus and enteroviruses, environmental toxins and even a genetic disorder, no one knows for certain.

Information for this post based on articles covered and written in LiveScience.

Ok all done with that. I truly hope that each of you are having the greatest day possible today and that your tomorrow is even better. ‘Til next time I am interested in your thoughts on this or any other area you would like to discuss, just let me know in the comments.

Thanks

~Heidi~

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