November 14 (UPI) – A mysterious condition that causes paralysis in children continues to baffle public health officials.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Control has confirmed 90 cases of acute myelitis, or AFM, in persons in 27 states. The CDC examines 252 patients who can have AFM, a number that has jumped out of 33 patients since last week.
"Classification issues are important because we try to figure out which trigger's AFM, and we are working to speed up the process," said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC, in a press release on Tuesday. "But taking care of the patient is the primary priority for doctors and the health department."
The polio-like condition causes respiratory diseases between three and ten days before the victim experiences the weakness of the limbs. Some of these victims experience paralysis.
The majority of AFM cases are children between 2 and 8 years. About half are men.
No one has died of AFM in 2018, and about half of patients recover completely from the condition. Messonnier said that the other half suffered from permanent disability.
"There are currently no targeted therapies or interventions with sufficient evidence to approve or detect their use," said Messonnier. "We recommend that clinics expedite neurology and infectious disease consultations to discuss treatment and management considerations."
Experts, and CDC, still do not know what causes the condition.
The Agency has set up a working group of national experts to develop a research agenda, especially to find the triggers for the permit and why it affects certain children. The Agency has been working since 2014, when the first cases emerge, to learn the causes and find treatments, including working with doctors who treat AFM patients going to 2014.
"What we need to figure out is what is the trigger for AFM," said Messonnier.
"As a mom, I know what it's like to be afraid of your child, and I understand that parents want answers," she added. "CDC is a science-driven agency. At the moment, science gives us no response."