CDC warns of potential outbreak of rare, life-threatening condition in children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning to parents and clinicians Tuesday that a rare polio-like condition that affects children could appear this year.
The agency said it is preparing for a possible outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a life-threatening condition that affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called the gray matter, according to the CDC.
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The condition typically causes arm or leg weakness but can lead to paralysis over the course of a few hours or days and requiring one in four hospitalized children to rely on a mechanical ventilator to help them breathe, according to the CDC. In some cases, patients may become permanently disabled, the agency said.
The polio-like illness tends to spike every two years, according to the CDC, which has tracked the data since 2014. That means cases may spike amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has already infected more than 4.7 million Americans.
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"Clinicians need to remain vigilant for AFM and promptly evaluate patients even as frontline health care workers, family, physicians and other medical professionals continue to work under the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. "While phone and telemedicine can be used for initial evaluations, AFM is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care and monitoring, as this condition can progress rapidly to respiratory failure."
Clinicians should look ...
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