CDC warns of potential fall outbreak of rare polio-like illness in children
Even while the country struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that an outbreak of a rare but serious polio-like illness that mostly affects children could be coming soon. The rare condition is called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.
According to a report by U.S. News, every two years since 2014, outbreaks of AFM, have occurred between August and November, with the latest outbreak in 2018 being the largest peak ever recorded - 238 cases across 42 states. According to the CDC, more than half were admitted to intensive care units, and a quarter of hospitalized patients required a ventilator. The average patient age was 5 years old.
The report said that now, health officials are concerned that “an AFM outbreak during the coronavirus pandemic could complicate efforts to diagnose and treat the illness.”
“Clinicians need to remain vigilant for AFM and promptly evaluate patients even as front-line health care workers, family physicians and other medical professionals continue to work under the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said on a call with reporters Tuesday, the report said.
What are the symptoms of AFM?
Limb weakness, that can progress quickly into paralysis, is the most common symptom of AFM, and some patients can become permanently disabled. Also, symptoms can include fever, headache, back or neck pain, respiratory illness, and neck or facial swelling, among other things, the report said.
“We are concerned that in the midst of a [COVID-19] pandemic that cases might not ...
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