Tenn. child diagnosed with mysterious illness; 22 states affected

Case Of Polio-Like Illness Acute Flaccid Myelitis Confirmed In Mass.

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

CNN learned that both North Carolina and SC are among 30 states with confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis.

The MDH says the case is now being reviewed, and did not provide information regarding where in the state this particular case was diagnosed, or whether or not the child is in the hospital.

Most of the cases involve children, officials said. Other symptoms include facial drooping, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing and slurred speech.

The bad news is, although many patients recover completely from the illness, some remain paralyzed and require long-term care.

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The state's health department said the five reported cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) also are being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are among dozens of cases the federal health agency is looking into across the country. Several cases have been linked to enteroviruses or other germs, but officials have not been able to find a cause for the majority of the cases.

An MDH official says so far the CDC has confirmed six cases of AFM in Minnesota. There is basically a 1 in 1 million chance that your child will fall victim to this disease. But the data reported Tuesday represents "a substantially larger number than in previous months this year", Messonnier said. Of those, 30 states said they had cases that were confirmed, suspected or being investigated - including 15 states that said they had confirmed cases in 2018.

Vaccines and hand-washing help protect against the spread of viral illnesses, while insect repellent helps ward off the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile. She noted the confirmed cases are in 22 states.

Messonnier urged parents to seek care right away if children experience AFM symptoms.

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There is no specific treatment for AFM.

Lacking an established cause, health officials confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.

The first cases of AFM coincided with an unusually severe outbreak of a common virus that affects the lungs or gut.

"As a parent myself I understand what it's like to be scared for your child", Messonnier said.

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Media reports in recent weeks have suggested that a "polio-like virus" might be triggering the condition, elevating fears that it might be polio itself. That way, they can have their cases reported to the CDC so that they can get to the bottom of what this is and how to stop it. To date, 62 of those cases, from 22 states, have been confirmed; investigations of the others are ongoing. "These kids have a sudden onset of weakness and they are generally seeking medical care and being evaluated by neurologists, infectious disease doctors and their pediatricians and coming to public awareness".

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