Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Klobuchar Calls for CDC Investigation of Polio-Like Illness

Melissa Porter | 11 October, 2018, 18:54

"The increase in AFM cases in 2014 coincided with a national outbreak of severe respiratory illness among people caused by enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)", the CDC notes on its website.

The rare condition can be caused by a virus, a genetic disorder and environmental toxins.

There is no treatment other than managing each patient's symptoms.

For reasons not fully understood, AFM affects mainly children.

This year alone - from January through September - there have been 38 confirmed cases in 16 different states, according to the agency.

AFM is a rare but serious condition that has been compared with polio because it, too, can lead to paralysis and, in some cases, death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the cases nationwide have been in children.

Dr. Elizabeth Meade, chief of pediatrics at Swedish Pediatrics, says AFM is more common in kids and is especially associated with viruses.

There were two other suspected cases of AFM in the state earlier this year, according to Schultz. A few require ventilators to breathe, NBC News reported. Some people with AFM may be unable to urinate.

"The CDC has acknowledged that 362 cases of AFM have been reported since 2014, indicating an increasing infection rate", Klobuchar wrote in the letter.

Because of AFM's possible roots in polio, doctors and medical health professionals are urging parents to stay up-to-date on their children's vaccinations.

Outside of IL, there are now a few dozen cases of AFM in the United States.

The CDC recommends getting children vaccinated against the poliovirus, as well as protecting against bites from mosquitos (which carry the West Nile virus).

Health officials are warning parents to be on the lookout for symptoms.

However, 11 of the Colorado cases of AFM have tested positive for EV A71, a rare type of enterovirus not usually seen in the USA but instead in Asia and other parts of the world, according to Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the Colorado state epidemiologist. Numbness or tingling is rare in people with AFM, although some people have pain in their arms or legs.

While there is no cure, health experts say you should take preventative measures including washing your hands or coughing into your elbow.