Home Health Doctors Think They Know Cause Of Rare Polio-Like Illness Spreading Across US

Doctors Think They Know Cause Of Rare Polio-Like Illness Spreading Across US

FILE - Children in Hospital

 Doctors and medical researchers believe a relatively harmless virus is to blame for the recent outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) cases in the United States, according to a new report from NBC News.

The above graphic shows how AFM affects the nervous system.CDC

AFM is a disease that affects mostly young children, and causes polio-like symptoms. It usually starts with cold-like symptoms, and progresses to causing paralysis in the limbs. AFM can prove deadly if the patient loses the ability to breathe for themselves.

So far this year, state health departments have referred 155 potential AFM cases to the CDC, which has confirmed 62 of those cases so far.

While the CDC won’t say what is causing the new outbreak, NBC News spoke to doctors and researchers treating patients, and they believe the uptick in cases is likely due to a virus called enterovirus D68, or EV-D68.

A reappearing issue

The first time that AFM caused a public concern was back in 2014, when there was an outbreak of 120 cases that coincided with an outbreak of EV-D68 as well.

Similar spikes in both have been seen about every two years since then, the experts told NBC.

While the CDC says there hasn’t been enough evidence to link the two, the doctors interviewed say many of their AFM patients presented with EV-D68.

Business Insider, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Oct. 30, 2018