Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed 116 cases of rare polio – like illness since the beginning of the year, making it the highest amount recorded since 2016 in the United States. Officials have still not identified the cause of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), but noted that the majority of patients are children.
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"It's quite disturbing that it's increasing and we still have not figured out how to prevent it or treat it," said Dr. Emmanuelle Tiongson, pediatric neurologist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, who evaluated and treated patients with MFA, told Reuters.
The CDC peaked every two years with 120 confirmed cases in 2014, but only 22 in 2015 and 149 confirmed cases in 2016, but only 33 in total in 2017. The agency reported that most patients reported mild breathing problems. Fever or disease corresponding to a viral infection before the development of AFM, but they have not been able to determine why some patients develop this disease while others recover completely.
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The agency has investigated 286 cases of MFA since August, with cases occurring in 31 states. The rare and serious disease affects the nervous system and can cause sagging or weakening of the face, difficult movements of the eyes, droopy eyelids or difficulty swallowing and slurred speech. Although there is no specific treatment, doctors can recommend an intervention on a case-by-case basis. Many patients recover, but in rare cases the condition can be fatal or lead to life-long complications.