A task force of 16 experts put together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold their first official meeting (via conference call) Wednesday to talk about that rare polio-like illness, Acute Flaccid Myelitis or AFM.
As they meet more children have been impacted. The CDC confirms 116 cases of AFM and 286 suspected cases in 31 states so far in 2018. More than 90 percent of patients affected by AFM are children.
Dr. Thomas Clark, the one tapped with overseeing the AFM investigation says, "We’re really asking them to think through what kind of research studies would help us shed light on the causes of AFM. We just don't know what triggers AFM."
In 2016 there were 149 confirmed cases in 39 states and D.C., while in the last five months of 2014 there were 120 confirmed cases in 34 states.
The number of AFM cases appears to rise every other year. Last year there were just 33 confirmed cases in 16 states, while 2015 saw just 22 confirmed cases in 17 states.
“I want to reaffirm to parents, patients, and our Nation CDC’s commitment to this serious medical condition,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a news release. “This Task Force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences.”