Health scare of the week
A mysterious polio-like disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the public about a surge of cases of a rare and mysterious polio-like disease that mostly affects children and can result in paralysis. The agency said last week that it had confirmed 62 cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) across 22 states since the start of the year, reports CBSNews.com. More than 90 percent of those were in children, with the average sufferer being 4 years old. Another 65 possible cases are under investigation. Health officials have been closely monitoring the disease since 2014. Every year since then, normally in late summer, there has been a spike in cases—a pattern that has left researchers baffled. Scientists are still uncertain how AFM, which affects the nervous system, is transmitted. Symptoms include weakened muscles and reflexes, and in some cases paralysis; one child with the disorder died in 2017. Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the CDC, emphasized that the disease was still extremely rare. But she said the agency wanted to raise awareness of the condition and encourage parents to seek immediate medical care if their kids showed any weakness or loss of muscle tone in their limbs.