A panel of experts that was put together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to look into that mystery illness, acute flaccid myelitis, says there may have been cases before 2014.
"We do think that there may have been additional cases perhaps preceding 2014 that may have been misdiagnosed as Guillain Barre," says Ruth Lynfield, Chair of the AFM Task Force.
It was reported earlier that the first cases were discovered four years ago and have been increasing. September is the peak month for the number of reported cases. Cases seem to peak every other year.
AFM is a complex condition that affects a person’s nervous system, specifically, the spinal cord, causing weakness in one or more limbs.
The panel says enterovirus D68 remains the leading hypothesis for virus trigger but they still don't know fore sure the cause. AFM is difficult to determine why only some people go from having a mild respiratory illness or fever, to developing AFM.
The panel thinks many cases have been missed and may still be out there as doctors and clinicians are not familiar with the illness.
"We suspect that we are missing cases," says Lynfield.
There have been 134 confirmed cases in 33 states this year. In addition, there are 165 patients under investigation as possibly having AFM. In Georgia four cases have been confirmed.