It is actively investigating AFM cases, and trying to unearth more information about the rare condition.
Three children at UPMC Children's Hospital are suspected of having AFM, while 38 others in 16 states have been diagnosed recently.
Griffith said the cases usually come to light when parents notice acute muscle weakness or paralysis in their child and bring them to a health provider. "So, we've seen that there's an association between viruses, specifically enterovirus, in the past". Because the virus was present in many early confirmed cases of AFM, the CDC believes it to be a primary cause of the condition. Symptoms typically begin with a fever or cough, followed by sudden weakness in limbs, drooping of the eyes, slurred speech or difficulty swallowing.
Some affected by AFM may also be unable to pass urine, and have difficulty breathing, requiring urgent ventricular support.
On Monday, news broke that six children in Minnesota have been infected with the rare disease that causes lowered mobility or paralysis in the arms and legs. Your doctor may collect information about your symptoms and send this information to their health departments. The severe form the disease can cause neurologic symptoms, including encephalitis and AFM. The condition affects the gray matter area of the spinal cord and causes weakness in the body's muscles and reflexes.
If you see potential symptoms of AFM in your child-for example, if they are not using their arms properly-the MDH recommends contacting a health care provider as soon as possible.
The CDC also stresses that while rates of AFM are increasing, it's still an incredibly rare disease.
The exact reasons that the condition appears are not known, but neurological conditions have a variety of triggers, such as viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders, the CDC said. One possible way it can develop is from viral infections.
There is no specific treatment for AFM, but a doctor who specializes in treating brain and spinal cord illnesses (neurologist) may recommend certain interventions on a case-by-case basis. "The patients are now undergoing diagnostic procedures and treatment", the hospital said in a statement to Pittsburgh's Channel 11. It has, however, been linked to a number of common germs that cause colds, sore throats and respiratory infections as well as to other viruses, including poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses and mosquito-borne viruses, such as the Zika virus.
The CDC estimates that less than a million people will get AFM every year in the United States. Learn about when and how to wash your hands.