The virus has been confirmed for 62 cases in 22 states, including seven in Minnesota, according to media reports. "In very rare cases, it is possible that the process in the body that triggers AFM may also trigger other serious neurologic complications that could lead to death", according to the CDC's website.
AFM is extremely rare, according to CBS, and the CDC estimates that less than one in a million people in the US will get it every year. Anyone can get the disease but 90% of the reported cases have been in children 18 years old and younger, with the average age being 4 years old.
As of yet, there is no known effective treatment for the condition, but the vast majority of patients do recover with treatment. In 2017, one person died of AFM. No one knows what causes AFM, although a virus or viruses are suspected. The polio-like illness causes limited mobility or paralysis. It attacks the spinal cord and nervous system and causes weakness or temporary paralysis in the arms and legs.
The Department of Public Health has confirmed the second MA case this year of a rare but potentially devastating illness that strikes mostly children and causes muscle weakness or paralysis. "Kids may have a cold-like symptom, cough, congestion and fever, and what is alarming and frightening is they suddenly develop weakness, and typically it's in an arm or leg, and you can look at the list of symptoms, and it comes out of the blue".
State and national health authorities are raising the alarm about a polio-like "mystery illness" that has left dozens of children with paralysis and other symptoms in MA and 21 other states.
"CDC has been actively investigating AFM, testing specimens and monitoring disease since 2014, when we first saw an increase in cases", Messonnier said.
Other countries have reported AFM cases, but not the same seasonal pattern the United States has experienced.
"Poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".
People can protect themselves from contracting AFM using methods similar to preventing getting the flu, Ellerin said. She said that most AFM cases occur in the late summer and fall.
Other enteroviruses have also been found in patients with AFM.
The disorder has been diagnosed in unvaccinated children and also in children who have received some of their recommended vaccinations, she said.
The CDC is actively investigating and monitoring disease activity and recommends taking standard prevention measures such as hand-washing, protecting oneself from mosquito bites and staying up-to-date on vaccinations.