State’s first case of AFM confirmed in Nebraska child

Mysterious Paralyzing Disease AFM Reported In New York City, 30 States

While Colorado has confirmed the most cases, followed by Texas, it remains unclear whether there is a higher risk of AFM in those states, or if they were better at identifying and reporting it, according to CNN. "I'm sure if I provide the data to each senator about how many cases they have in their state, they'll be made more aware about how serious this is, and how anxious parents are." . In the most severe cases, the illness can leave a patient paralyzed.

AFM is described as a polio-like illness, that affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord. It has also convened a task force to get to the bottom of this mystery disease, and as CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., put it in a statement, "to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences". The agency has been monitoring cases of the rare condition since a noted spike in 2014.

Last year, the CDC received information for 33 confirmed cases, and in 2016, it received information for 149 confirmed cases. "And in children, which is where we're mostly seeing this condition, it's caused symptoms such as weakness of the arms, weakness of the legs, droopy eyelids, problems swallowing and things of that nature". There is no known cause or treatment for this disease.

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The CDC has been monitoring and investigating an increasing number of cases of AFM since 2014. Blood and other tests are usually done to evaluate for other possible causes of the symptoms.Therefore, AFM is diagnosed by identification of the flaccid limb weakness symptoms and the MRI findings, as well as ruling out other possible causes. The majority of patients are children with their average age being 4.

Most patients had a mild respiratory illness or fever, consistent with a virus, before becoming ill. "A lot of them do not go on to develop AFM", Fowlie said. Although the CDC has encouraged doctors to report cases, there is no requirement to do so.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for $1 billion in emergency funding to help battle a polio-like disease that's affecting a growing number of people - particularly children.

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