(CNN) – According to figures released Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more and more children have been diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, a paralyzing disease resembling polio.
According to the CDC, 106 confirmed cases of AFD have been reported in 29 states this year, an increase of 16 since last week. Three cases of AFM have been confirmed in Alabama.
There are also 167 possible cases of the disease, an increase of five from the previous week.
Since 2014, there have been 430 confirmed cases of rare disease and 90% have been children, according to the CDC.
AFM is a rare disease that affects the nervous system, especially the gray matter of the spinal cord, and causes muscle weakness and sudden paralysis. Children can be affected in different ways: some use their paralyzed limbs, others are paralyzed from the neck to the feet and can breathe only with a fan.
There is no cure or vaccine.
There is no known cause either. Although several neurologists who perform advisory duties to the CDC are convinced that an enterovirus – the same family of viruses that causes polio – is most likely to be blamed, the CDC says it continues to empty from his net.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC said last week that the agency was considering the possibility of an infectious pathogen causing MFA, but added that "we are expanding our assumptions."
When asked if a toxin or vaccines could trigger the AFM, Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, responded that "we do not exclude anything." for the moment. "
About three to ten days before becoming paralyzed, almost every child who developed an antimicrobial cardiomyopathy had a viral illness with symptoms such as fever and cough, the CDC reported last week.
Since viral diseases are very common in children, it is not clear why a relatively small number of people develop MFA. Even within the same family, many siblings can develop the same cold-like symptoms, but only one becomes paralyzed.
In an article in CNN last month, several of the CDC's medical consultants and parents of sick children blamed the agency for being too slow to respond to the epidemic.
Messonnier said last week that the agency had funded state health departments to sensitize doctors to case identification, expanded its network of neurologists to help confirm cases and set up a group of work composed of national experts.
CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund also said last week that the agency had instructed 14 agents of the Intelligence Epidemic Service – called "detectives of the disease" – to help review case reports. from MFA.
"As a mother, I can certainly understand why parents are worried. I am concerned about this increase in the AFM, "said Messonnier.