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CDC confirms 116 cases of polio-like illness and flaccid acute myelitis



David Kulakowski, 38, and Jessica Kulakowski, 31, watch their son Chase Kulakowski, age 3, play at their home in Dyer, Indiana on October 15, 2018. Chase contracted a flaccid acute myelitis there is two years old.

Armando L. Sanchez | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

David Kulakowski, 38, and Jessica Kulakowski, 31, watch their son Chase Kulakowski, age 3, play at their home in Dyer, Indiana on October 15, 2018. Chase contracted a flaccid acute myelitis there is two years old.

So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed 116 cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare but serious disease that can lead to polio-like paralysis.

Acute flaccid myelitis affects the gray matter of the spinal cord, causing muscles and reflexes to weaken and sometimes paralyze.

The CDC said the cause of the disease is unknown.

More than 90% of people with acute flaccid myelitis had mild respiratory illness or fever, consistent with a viral infection, before developing it, the CDC said. Viral infections are common in children, which may help explain why more children contract the disease than adults.

Nevertheless, the agency does not know why a small number of people develop flabby acute myelitis while most others heal. The CDC stated that it was continuing its investigation.


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