CDC: Mysterious paralyzing illness reported in 22 states

- The number of cases of a rare paralyzing illness in children in the United States has jumped, according to federal officials.

Health officials in 22 states have reported at least 62 confirmed cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 2018 so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those officials are probing another 65 illnesses in those states.

From August 2014 through September 2018, the CDC received information on a total of 386 confirmed cases of AFM across the country. Most of the cases have occurred in children.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, updated the media and public via a conference call on Tuesday.

The CDC has been tracking cases of AFM since a noted spike in 2014. Another spike came in 2016. The CDC doesn't know what caused the spikes.

The cause is a mystery but the CDC and other officials have ruled out polio and West Nile virus. Another kind of virus was found in only some of the cases.

The illness affects the patient's spinal cord. Symptoms include muscle weakness, droopy eyelids, problems swallowing, and slurred speech. In extreme cases, paralysis and death can occur.

With the AP

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