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The polio-like disease that sickened at least 233 US children last year, leaving many temporarily paralyzed, may make a return at the end of the summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Tuesday.
Doctors must be on high alert for acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), the mysterious disease that rears its head every two years, typically between August and December, the agency warned.
Year - Year
This year, 2019, should be an off year.
Yet the CDC are concerned enough to release a study and advisory to urge parents, and especially physicians to take children's limb weakness seriously and act fast.
Health - Officials - AFM - Children - Others
Health officials don't know what exactly causes AFM, or why it strikes some children and not others, but they have observed when it tends to strike.
AFM was first recognized in 2014, when 120 people, mostly children, across the nation were brought to hospitals with bewildering, sudden muscle weakness or paralysis in their limbs.
Handful - Cases - Year - AFM
Although there were a handful of cases of the already rare disease the following year, AFM seemed to subside in 2015.
But it was back again in 2016, sickening even more people - 149 - than the first recognized outbreak had.
Year - AFM
And last year was the worst yet for AFM, which struck 233 in 2018.
In total, 570 cases of the rare disease have been confirmed since it was first recognized in 2014.
People - AFM - Symptoms - Respiratory - Infections
Most people with AFM have accompanying symptoms of viral respiratory infections, such as congestion, coughing, runny nose and fever.
Testing samples from these patients has helped doctors begin to whittle away at the list of potential culprits.
Kind - Enteroviruses - Respiratory - Infections - AFM
Several kind of enteroviruses - which cause respiratory infections - have been linked to AFM cases, but there's not enough hard, consistent evidence to establish that these are the...
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