Cases of mysterious paralyzing illness reported in 22 states

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The Arizona Department of Health Services said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday the cases of the polio-like acute flaccid myelitis were not related to the cluster of diagnoses reported in Minnesota.

ABC News Videos A girl recovers after contracting acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system and causes the body's muscles and reflexes to become weak.

The rare AFM condition mostly presents in children but so far a cause or consistent patient pathogen has alluded doctors.

In 2014 the CDC said there was a spike in the AFM virus, with 120 people afflicted with it from August to December of that year in 34 states. So far, 2016 was the worst year, with 149 confirmed cases. Those officials are probing another 65 illnesses in those states. CDC officials added that while they have not seen any geographical clustering, they have seen seasonal clustering, with most cases occurring in the late summer and fall, dating back to when the CDC first noticed an uptick in the illness in 2014.

A "polio-like illness" that affects children is spreading across the United States and has now been found in 22 states, CNN reported Wednesday.

Messonnier urged parents to seek care right away if children experience AFM symptoms. Symptoms also can include facial droop and weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids or difficulty swallowing and slurred speech.

Boston Children's Hospital has evaluated all of the confirmed and suspected AFM cases that occurred in MA this year. "What we do is a medication called immunoglobulins, and that's to decrease the inflammation that happens in the nerves and in the spinal cord".

More news: Children From Washington Hit With Rare Disease Similar To Polio

She added that confirmation of each case requires a review of MRI images and symptoms, "so there is going to be a bit of a lag as we confirm those things".

"This is a pretty dramatic disease", Messonnier said. Messonnier added that health officials are considering other potential causes, such as West Nile virus and environmental toxins, though none of the cases have involved them.

That's up from 22 people who were said to have it in 2015.

"We're actually looking at everything".

"Many times it can start with what looks like a respiratory illness, a little bit of a fever", Narula said.

In research developments, a team based at the J. Craig Venter Institute conducted experiments to see if a specific EV-D68 genotype is linked to neurologic symptoms and found that some viruses from the 2014 outbreak can infect neuronal cells.

"Families really sticking with it are seeing slow but steady recovery", he said. In other cases, patients remain paralyzed.

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