Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Medical | By Mark Scott

7th Case of Rare Disease Diagnosed

7th Case of Rare Disease Diagnosed

To give parents, healthcare workers, and public health officials a look at what to expect, she said the CDC will report suspected cases this year, as well as confirmed ones.

CNN reached out to several health departments across the country, including IL, which reported 10 cases of AFM.

The surge has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday announced a change in the way the agency is counting cases.

So far across the county, 62 cases of the rare polio-like neurological condition have been reported. There is no specific treatment for the disorder.

The overall rate of AFM is fewer than one in a million, she said.

The CDC says it seems to be following an every other year pattern that emerges in the fall. "We actually don't know what's causing this increase", said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, of the CDC.

"It's not something to really panic about its exceedingly rare, but it is something they want physicians and hospitals to be aware of so that if they do see cases, they get reported and hopefully the testing can find out what's causing it", said Mark Rasnake, who is an infectious disease physician. Minnesota just confirmed its seventh case of acute flaccid myelitis-and a possible case is now being investigated here in North Dakota as well.

Though many of those previously diagnosed with AFM had a virus, like West Nile or enterovirus.

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.

On the CDC's website, it lists symptoms of the disease, which include facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, or difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech. It's also important to note that the number of known or suspected cases is small, so the odds of contracting the illness are extremely low.

They also wanted to raise awareness about the condition so parents can seek medical care if their child develops symptoms, and so physicians can quickly relay reports of the potential illness to the CDC. She said the average age of AFM patients is 4. And though enteroviruses have been detected in some paralysis cases, it hasn't been found in others, CDC officials say.

The Douglas County Health Department's Phil Rooney said, "This is not a diagnosis like flu or other diseases where you can do blood draw fluids".

"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 their hands, staying up to date on recommended immunizations and using insect repellent", Messonnier said.

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