There is now no cure for AFM, known cause in most cases, or clear explanation for why some people who contract the enterovirus experience symptoms and others do not. "I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness". But federal officials said that those viruses have not been linked to the USA outbreak over the past four years. So far, the number of cases in 2018 is similar to the number reported in 2014 and 2016, Messonnier said. AFM is extremely rare, but if your child shows any symptoms, take them to a doctor immediately. But officials haven't been able to find a single agent that would explain the clusters of cases that occur around the same time. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.
In Canada, the disease is tracked as part of a larger category called "acute flaccid paralysis".
Similar neurological conditions are known to be caused by viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders.
This year, the Centers for Disease Control has observed 38 confirmed cases in 16 states, the federal agency said in an update last week. Maryland's first case was reported September 21.
A seventh child has been diagnosed with a rare, paralyzing illness that has seen an uptick in cases this year in the USA, the Minnesota Department of Health said.
Messonnier stressed that while she understands how frightening this situation is for parents, they should remember that the infections are, in fact, rare.
Danielle Finkle, a mother from IL who was interviewed, said about her son: "He came to me and he's supporting his left arm with his right arm, and he says, 'Mommy my arm's broke'". "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now".
The CDC says to be on the lookout for the onset of arm or leg weakness, and loss of muscle tone and reflexes.
The peak season for AFM started in mid-summer and doctors say it should be wrapping up soon as we move closer into winter. The difference is that they don't know what causes a particular child to come down with AFM after being exposed.
What is acute flaccid myelitis? However, experts say that initial indications from a small number of cases suggest a grim outlook. No pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.
She said that CDC has tested every stool specimen from AFM patients. There has been one AFM-related death, which happened in 2017.
But, if their child is diagnosed, parents should prepare for extensive physical therapy - therapy that isn't always covered by insurance, he said. "You don't need an bad lot of paralyzed children to make this an important problem".
Despite symptoms reminiscent of polio, no AFM cases have tested positive for that virus, according to the CDC.
The CDC referred calls to individual state health departments.
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