Paralyzing polio-like illness discovered


By Marisol Martinez Garcia, Spanish Editor

As new medical discoveries have been made in recent years, new diseases have come to life. Recently Center for Disease Control and Prevention, made the public aware that a new paralyzing illness called AFM, Acute Flaccid Myelitis, has been discovered. It has developed in 31 states with 116 confirmed patients that have been diagnosed. There are 286 cases being treated for possible diagnosis since Nov. 23, 2018 with many more suspected.
The illness, said to resemble polio, has especially hit children in the United States.
AFM is a rare disease that affects the spinal cord, weakens the limbs, deteriorates muscle tone and causes pain according to Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Symptoms in more recent cases include drooping of the face and eyelids, difficulty moving eyes and problems with swallowing and slurred speech.
The odds of contracting AFM is less than one in a million and the state of California has had no confirmed cases so far, according to the State Department of Public Health.
“Parents should be especially attentive to how their children act and react when they get sick. Since this disease seems to target children, the first symptoms mimic the flu and weakness of the limbs.” said Michelle, LVN at Kaiser Permanente Martinez Medical Center.
This illness has been around for a few years and actually spiked in 2014 and 2016, over the past four years fewer than 400 people have been diagnosed nationally with no deaths and some patient recovering completely according to the CDC. Currently there is no cure for AFM.
“I heard about this, it’s just another thing we parents have to worry about. With three kids and my husband, someone is always sick at our home. I would be devastated if one of my children contracted this disease, or any other disease” said Deborah Goodman, a Walnut Creek resident and mother of three.
The CDC announced in late November that it will be assembling a task force within the scientist community to investigate the cause of the disease. They will be joining the current Canadian group of pediatric neurologist that are sharing all the cases that are being seen across Canada and now the United States.
Along with physician recommendations of washing your hands with soap and water, the CDC recommends all children and adults to be up to date with vaccines and protecting yourself against bites from mosquitoes which may carry the disease and others.