CDC Pleads with Doctors to Look for Polio Like Illness

The most cases ever of acute flaccid myelitis were seen last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there were -- 233 confirmed cases in 41 states. There were four confirmed cases in Georgia in 2018.

AFM tends to spike between August and October every other year, including outbreaks in 2014 and 2016 with 120 and 149 cases, respectively. So far this year, there have been 11 confirmed cases in eight states out of 57 patients under investigation.

The CDC in Atlanta is asking doctors to be on the lookout for it and quickly report suspected cases of a mysterious ailment that afflicts young children, saying delays in identifying possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, are hindering the search for the condition’s cause.

Most of the patients with AFM (more than 90%) had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before they developed AFM. Anne Schuchat, M.D., CDC Principal Deputy Director says, "we don’t know why a small number of people develop AFM, while most others recover."

Most patients had onset of AFM between August and October, with increases in AFM cases every two years since 2014. At this same time of year, many viruses commonly circulate, including enteroviruses, and will be temporally associated with AFM. Most AFM cases are children (over 90%) and have occurred in 48 states and DC.

CDC is not aware of any deaths in confirmed AFM cases with illness onsets in 2018 or 2019.

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