The State of Washington has joined hospitals in the investigation of eight strange illness cases which exhibit symptoms specific to a very rare and uncommon disease.
Western Washington was faced, this past fall, with eight cases of hospitalized children which presented symptoms related to an acute neurologic illness.
The children, aged 3 to 14, and which were all hospitalized these past six weeks presented a number of different types of symptoms, in various degrees of severity, but exhibited a common element.
All the affected children suffered from a loss of either movement or strength in either one or both arms or legs.
The symptoms and syndrome, which are not contagious, are similar to those of a strange illness which can cause paralysis, in various degrees, similar to polio. Doctors are now investigating if the eight admitted cases are AFM sufferers.
AFM, or acute flaccid myelitis, is a syndrome which can manifest both in children and in adults and which affects its sufferer’s nervous system, the spinal cord especially.
National health experts declared that this year marked an increase in the number of confirmed AFM cases, which could cause a great deal of concern as the strange illness cases were previously a rare thing.
As the state Department of Health declares, the trigger or causes of AFM are not yet known, with the possible causes including a wide range of health issues.
Common colds or sore throats and respiratory infections are amongst the vehiculated germs and virus lists that could cause the disease. In the other category, specialists include mosquito-borne viruses, polio and non-polio enteroviruses as possible causes. Autoimmune conditions have also been vehiculated.
As the AFM is usually revealed by the MRI, it still takes a while for it to be diagnosed, and it has varying degrees of recoverability, although a full recovery has not been registered.
With the registered increase in numbers, the health department is leading a collaboration investigation into the eight strange illness cases in order to determine their exact nature.
The other members of the investigation include the CDC, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Seattle Children, and the Public Health – Seattle and King County.
The currently registered eight illness cases will be looked into as the doctors will be scanning their MRI’s for signs of the spinal cord inflammations typical of the AFM, but the children could turn out to be not be affected by this disease, as doctors have not reached a consensus on the matter.
Still, the nationwide numbers of AFM registered cases have increased to 50 this year, as opposed to 21 in 2014. As such, doctors advise that all children and adults should catch up on their vaccinations and be up to date, avoid as much as possible mosquito bites, and maintain a proper health etiquette.
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