Cases of rare, polio-like illness confirmed in Ohio, Pennsylvania

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The CDC has been monitoring an increase in cases since 2014 and on Tuesday reported that it has confirmed 386 instances of AFM across the country over the last four years, a lot of them involving children.

A mysterious illness that's sickening and even paralyzing children is prompting warnings this week from federal health officials to seek medical care immediately should anyone develop its symptoms.

The suspected case in Douglas County is still under investigation and confirmation of the diagnosis could take up the three weeks.

Since 2014 there have been almost 400 confirmed cases of AFM across the United States.

So far across the county, 62 cases of the rare polio-like neurological condition have been reported.

Many other aspects of the illness remain unknown, including what factors puts a person at risk of becoming ill and the long-term consequences. "Most of the people who get sick have had a viral disease and then it comes after that generally but there's a great deal of research that needs to be done on this". There has been one AFM-related death, which happened in 2017.

In addition to viruses, potential causes may include environmental toxins and genetic disorders, according to the CDC, and it "can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases".

Most cases of weakness and paralysis have been in children. Since 2014, 386 cases have been reported. Some of the symptoms include sudden muscle weakness or paralysis in the arms or legs and weak or stiff neck.

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

CDC began tracking the condition in 2014, when there were 120 confirmed cases.

Acute flacid myelitis or AFM is not new, but cases have been on the rise since 2014. We actually don't know what is causing this increase.

Other enteroviruses have also been found in patients with AFM.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a syndrome characterized by rapid onset of flaccid weakness in one or more limbs.

Parents can best protect their children from serious diseases by taking prevention steps, such as washing their hands, staying up to date on recommended vaccines and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites, Messonnier said.

Dr. Leslie Benson, assistant director of Children's pediatric neuroimmunology program, said AFM patients show a wide spectrum of symptoms.

The disorder has been diagnosed in unvaccinated children and also in children who have received some of their recommended vaccinations, she said.