According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 286 cases of acute and confirmed acute flaccid myelitis have been reported this year in the United States.
This includes 116 confirmed cases of the rare polio-like disease, also known as MFA, which leads to a sudden onset of paralysis. This is 10 more cases than the agency reported a week ago. Another 170 possible cases of AFM are investigated.
According to the CDC, more than 95% of the 440 AMA patients since 2014 are children under 18 years of age. The average age of infected persons is 5 years. Most children with confirmed cases had a viral illness with symptoms such as fever and cough about three to ten days before the onset of paralysis, the CDC announced this month.
Patients with confirmed AFM are found in 31 states, which the CDC has now identified for the first time. There are 15 cases in Colorado, the state with the highest number, followed by Texas with 14 confirmed cases. Nineteen states have no confirmed cases and 12 states record only one confirmed case, according to the CDC.
It is unclear if the risk of AFM is greater in states with the highest number of cases or if these states are simply better at identifying and reporting patients. Although the CDC has encouraged physicians to report cases, there is no requirement to do so.
Most AFM patients became ill between August and October, and according to the CDC, the number of illnesses has fallen to a low since 2014.
Even with the increase in the number of cases, according to the CDC, "less than one to two children in a million in the United States will have AFM each year".
By Debra Goldschmidt, CNN