Wednesday (Oct. 17), the CDC said there were 62 confirmed cases of AFM in the United States.
States reporting suspected cases or cases under investigation are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Washington. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now". Outbreaks are most common from August to October, and over 90 percent of the cases have involved children under 18 years old, with the average age of those inflicted standing at just 4 years old.
Unfortunately, there's no specific treatment for AFM.
The overall rate of AFM is fewer than one in a million, she said. Though AFM has not claimed any lives this year, there was one death 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".
"This remains a rare syndrome, but the similarities to poliomyelitis, polio-like illness, are concerning and bear close monitoring", Dr. Todd Ellerin, director of infectious diseases at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, told ABC News in an interview.
Acute flaccid myelitis affects the spinal cord and can cause partial paralysis.
It's a rare disease that can cause muscle weakness, partial paralysis, and general polio-like symptoms in children.
Cases nationwide may have gone up since 2014, but Wisconsin didn't see its first case until 2016, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Extremely. According to the CDC, there were 38 confirmed cases in 16 states this year through September 30.
"Many times it can start with what looks like a respiratory illness, a little bit of a fever", Narula said. In other cases, patients remain paralyzed. "Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases".
Another potential cause of AFM is a type of enterovirus called EV D68, Todd said. "Children can also have trouble swallowing, trouble with their speech, facial droop, trouble with their eye muscles".
"So it is primarily a disease of the children", she said.
Why is AFM likened to polio?
So far, the CDC has found no relationship between vaccines and children diagnosed with AFM from the 2014 cases.
She recommended that parents take routine protections against viral infections, such as keeping up to date on immunizations, washing hands, and avoiding mosquito bites.