ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned of new cases in Georgia of a mysterious polio-like illness that mainly affects children.
The State Department of Public Health told Channel 2's Wendy Corona there are four confirmed cases and two probable cases of acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says AFM is rare and the 158 confirmed cases across the country in 2018 are a new record.
"We understand that this is scary. This is a rare disease, but it is serious," said Dr. Thomas Clark, a epidemiologist with the CDC.
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Channel 2 Action News spoke in October with the family of 3-year-old Carter Abernathy, who lost some movement in his arm from AFM. He regained some movement after undergoing intense therapy.
Doctors do not know what causes AFM which affects the nervous system, but they say the symptoms typically occur a week after a child has a fever and respiratory illness.
"It looks and acts like polio, but every time we get specimens to test, we look for polio and it's not polio," Clark said.
To prevent AFM, the CDC recommends getting the polio vaccine, protecting against mosquito bites and washing your hands often with soap and water.
The CDC has created a task force to identify the risk factors, causes, ways to prevent the illness and how to improve treatment.