127 cases of polio-like illness under investigation, CDC says

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The Arizona Department of Health Services said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday the cases of the polio-like acute flaccid myelitis were not related to the cluster of diagnoses reported in Minnesota.

Federal health officials released the updated numbers on Tuesday, and said they still had no idea what was causing the spike in AFM cases or why kids were getting it in the first place. In particular, the condition can cause weakness in the arms and legs along with loss of muscle tone and problems with reflexes.

"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".

There were outbreaks of around 100 cases, nationwide, between August and October in both 2014 and 2016.

In an email Tuesday, Maryland Department of Health spokeswoman Brittany Fowler said the CDC will "make a determination about the status of the cases" in Maryland "based on clinical and laboratory information". But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

Messonnier said it was important for parents and clinicians to remember that this is a rare condition, affecting less than one in 1 million children under 18. "As we work to better understand what is causing AFM, parents can help protect their children from serious diseases by following prevention steps like washing our hands, staying up to date on recommended vaccines and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites".

The outlook for patients with AFM can vary from a quick recovery to ongoing paralysis, Messonnier said. "Most AFM cases occur in the late summer and fall", which she referred to as "seasonal clustering".

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"It's rare, but certainly when you hear about it it's very scary for parents", CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula told "CBS This Morning".

Some patients diagnosed with AFM were found to have enterovirus D68, a cousin of poliovirus, in their systems.

The disorder has been diagnosed in unvaccinated children and also in children who have received some of their recommended vaccinations, she said. Messonnier said West Nile virus, which had been listed as a possible cause on the CDC's website, is not causing the illnesses. We don't know who may be at higher risk for developing AFM or the reasons why they may be at higher risk.

AFM appears to target children at around age 4. "And he's had a lot of support at school with physical therapy". In the CDC's health warning the organisation said at least 65 other patients are being assessed after they displayed symptoms of the malady.

The following year, there were 22 confirmed cases in 17 states, and 2016 saw 149 cases in 39 jurisdictions, including D.C. In 2017 there were 33 confirmed cases in 16 states.

The CDC is not saying how many states have patients under investigation, only that it's more than 22.

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