Senator urges Congress to fund battle against polio-like disease

Currently, the CDC is monitoring 116 acute flaccid myelitis cases in 31 states. A total of 440 cases were confirmed in the United States from August 2014 to October 2018.

The patient in that case met some, but not all, of the criteria needed for the case to be confirmed as AFM. "I'm sure if I provide the data to each senator about how many cases they have in their state, they'll be made more aware about how serious this is, and how anxious parents are." .

"I'm sure if I showed senators the data for each of their states and the number of cases they've had, they'll be more aware of how serious this is and how anxious parents are", she said.

AFM is described as a polio-like illness, that affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord.

Last year, the CDC received information for 33 confirmed cases, and in 2016, it received information for 149 confirmed cases. Twelve states have reported only one confirmed AFM case.

Mysterious Paralyzing Disease AFM Reported In New York City, 30 States

Numbness or tingling is rare in patients with AFM, though some patients have pain in their arms or legs.

While the illness resembles polio, patients test negative for polio virus.

"The good news is that the CDC is setting up a task force to track AFM", Gillibrand said. There is no known cause and no cure, as of yet.

"A mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection" were seen in more than 90% of patients diagnosed with AFM since 2014, the CDC said. "The vast majority of (patients) are children between 2 and 8 years old".

Anyone who develops acute weakness of a limb, facial/eye/swallowing/speaking or any other muscles should seek immediate medical care.There are many possible causes of these symptoms (for example several infectious diseases including polio, certain autoimmune diseases, strokes and may others), and evaluation to identify possible causes to help guide treatment and care is indicated. As Congress finalizes the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill, Gillibrand will call on Congressional appropriators to provide the emergency funding necessary to give the CDC the resources it needs to investigate, treat, and prevent this debilitating disease.

Vanessa Coleman

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