Acute flaccid myelitis' (AFM's) characteristic features include an acute febrile illness, usually with upper respiratory symptoms (like a typical cold), which progresses to include neurological symptoms such as limb weakness and/or other nerve involvement (causing facial, eye, swallowing or speaking muscle weakness).There is not yet any specific test for AFM, although MRI imaging typically shows evidence of spinal cord gray matter involvement. In 2014, there were 120 confirmed cases of AFM, and two years later in 2016, there were 149 cases.
Xavier's story comes on the heels of a new report on the mysterious, rare "polio-like" disease popping up across the USA that has now spread to 31 states, sickening at least 250 children. In the most severe cases, the illness can leave a patient paralyzed.
Gillibrand said there have been two confirmed cases in NY state so far.
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It's not clear whether there is more of a risk of AFM in states that have a higher number of cases or if those states are just better at identifying and reporting patients.
Last week, the CDC announced that they were forming a task force to address the outbreak.
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Even with the rise in cases, according to the CDC, "less than one to two in a million children in the United States will get AFM every year".
Almost three months after he arrived at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario suffering from a rare polio-like condition, a four-year-old boy is back home and preparing for school. There is no known cause or treatment for this disease. Ninety percent of AFM cases have been in children, she said.
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None of the cases have been related to the poliovirus, although the impact is similar to polio. Parents and caregivers should seek medical care right away if their children develop sudden weakness of the arms or legs. As Congress finalizes the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill, Gillibrand will call on Congressional appropriators to provide the emergency funding necessary to give the CDC the resources it needs to investigate, treat, and prevent this debilitating disease.