Maryland Health Officials Confirm 5 Possible Cases Of Polio-Like Illness

5 children in Maryland might have a polio-like disease. The CDC is investigating.

The increase in cases has been happening since 2014, usually in August and September, but only in 2014 and 2016, Messonnier said in a news briefing with reporters.

That's when we spoke with the families of 4-year-old Camdyn Carr, who's now fighting the disease, and 7-year-old Sebastian Bottomley, who previously fought AFM.

The odds of getting the polio-like disease is less than one in a million; however, two cases in the Bay State have been confirmed and four others are under investigation, the Department of Public Health announced.

The long-term effects of the disease are also unknown. "What we do is a medication called immunoglobulins, and that's to decrease the inflammation that happens in the nerves and in the spinal cord".

Rarely, people with AFM can suffer respiratory failure and require ventilator support when their breathing muscles become too weak.

The average age of the patients in all confirmed cases over the past five years is just 4 years old, and more than 90% of the cases overall occur in children 18 and younger, according to analysis of cases reported in recent years.

As many as 127 confirmed or suspected cases of the disease have been identified this year across a region that includes 22 different states.

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

The CDC urges parents to be aware of this illness and to seek medical care right away if family members develop sudden weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms or legs.

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The following year, there were 22 confirmed cases in 17 states, and 2016 saw 149 cases in 39 jurisdictions, including D.C. In 2017 there were 33 confirmed cases in 16 states.

It is "a pretty dramatic disease", but fortunately most kids recover, Messonnier said.

"Nobody really knows treatment protocols, they don't know prognosis, and they can't really give parents an answer as to where this is coming from", she said. "We certainly don't want to alarm people because it's very rare, but at the same time, I believe it's something that's best to have checked out". With the sudden onset of weakness, patients are "generally seeking medical care" and being evaluated by neurologists, infectious disease doctors and pediatricians.

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".

"That's important because enteroviruses cause the common cold", Ellerin said.

In some individuals, health officials have determined that the condition was from infection with a type of virus that causes severe respiratory illness.

The mysterious increase in cases of AFM, as it's called, was first spotted in the late summer and autumn of 2014. Officials will be conducting additional analysis on this year's cases.

The agency doesn't know who may be at higher risk for developing this condition or the reasons they may be at higher risk.

In research developments, a team based at the J. Craig Venter Institute conducted experiments to see if a specific EV-D68 genotype is linked to neurologic symptoms and found that some viruses from the 2014 outbreak can infect neuronal cells.

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