CDC tracking rare polio-like condition in 22 states mostly affecting youth

Photo: James Gathany / CDC

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 22 states have reported cases of a rare, polio-like condition.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) affects the nervous system, targeting the spinal cord which causes muscles and reflexes to become weak. Parents are urged to seek medical care if their child develops sudden weakness or loss of muscle tone in the arms or legs.

62 cases have been confirmed in 2018, with reports of 127 possible cases nationwide. FOX 17 News contacted the Tennessee Department of Health, which responded Tennessee is so far not one of the states where a case has been confirmed.

Nancy Messonnier, Director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says they are still trying to identify a cause of AFM, which up to this point had only a one in a million diagnosis rate.

Since 2014, cases counts have increased and 90% of cases have affected those 18 or younger.

The CDC says there can be a lag in reporting, so states where cases have not been confirmed could be added to the list. CDC is only updating states with confirmed cases.

CNN reports after contacting each state individually, Alabama and Kentucky are among 17 states with suspected cases. Tennessee was not on the list, though FOX 17 News sister station WTVC reports a Chattanooga child is suspected of possibly being one of the unconfirmed cases.

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