The surge in cases has baffled health officials, who on Tuesday took the unusual step of announcing a change in the way the agency will count cases in the future. "We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develops sudden weakness of the arms and legs", she said. Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, a neurologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center, said that the mystery lies in whether the damage seen in AFM is caused by an external agent or the body's own defenses.
On a Facebook page dedicated to the disease, one parent posted that her daughter was diagnosed with AFM four years ago after catching enterovirus. Of those cases, only 62 have been confirmed as AFM. Still, no vaccine is available for AFM & the treatment carried is also case on case basis.
In addition to viruses, potential causes may include environmental toxins and genetic disorders, according to the CDC, and it "can be hard to diagnose because it shares numerous same symptoms as other neurologic diseases". A spokeswoman for hospital said they have notified the health department and are working with the CDC to learn more about the illness. In 2017 were recorded 21 cases of the disease.
Asked about the discrepancy between the CDC's report of 22 states versus CNN's report of 30 states with cases, Messonnier said, "the 22 states that we're reporting are the states that have confirmed cases". This year to date there are about 38 cases nationwide, 16 states in all.
Parents can help protect their children, Messonnier said, by washing their hands, staying current on immunizations and applying mosquito spray during outdoor play.
To improve research into AFM, Dr. Greenberg has called for mandatory reporting of the condition and centralized testing for infectious agents so researchers can better understand the full scope of the outbreak.
Katy Payne, a mother from IL, who was interviewed, said about her daughter: "I took her to the ER because she turned blue".
According to the CDC, the most severe cases of AFM can lead to respiratory failure and even death.
Two children in MA have contracted a serious, rare illness that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, according to the state's Department of Public Health. Messonnier said West Nile virus, which had been listed as a possible cause on CDC's website, is not causing the illnesses.
CDC Since August 2014, the CDC has seen 386 confirmed cases of AFM in the U.S. "In this cases it's unknown", Ehresmann said.
The CDC is investigating the outbreak. So, most of the doctors are in confusion and they don't know the reason of this aggressive invasion of virus with the small kids only, and not others.
The outlook for patients with AFM can vary from a quick recovery to ongoing paralysis, Messonnier said. No pathogen has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid.
Like other neurological diseases, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, physical therapy or occupational therapy are the only treatment options for people with AFM.
"Early intervention is definitely always helpful". Some children paralyzed by AFM have eventually regained their ability to walk, but need time.
Now 3 years old, Hunter has slowly recovered.
Although there has been at least one confirmed AFM case each month since 2014, it's too soon to interpret a trend, according to the CDC.
Health officials are able to confirm cases through a review of brain scans and symptoms.
CNN reached out to health departments in every state; 48 states responded, plus the District of Columbia.
Washington Post writers Dana Hedgpeth and Justin Wm.