A total of 252 cases of disorder known as acute flaccid myelitis have been investigated across the country, with an increase of 33 since last week.
Concerned by the sudden increase in children with paralysis of arms or legs in the United States, health officials announced on Tuesday that they are investigating whether the cause is a virus or an autoimmune disorder.
A total of 252 cases of conditions known as acute flaccid myelitis (MFA) are being investigated across the country, from 33 last week, said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Control Center. and disease prevention (CDC).
With 80 confirmed cases so far this year, 2018 seems to be at the same pace as in previous years, such as 2014 (120 cases) and 2016 (149 cases), compared to Mesonier.
Since 2014, when syndrome has been formed, more than 400 cases have been confirmed through laboratory tests.
A dozen cases were registered in 2015 and 2017.
Messonnier said he understood the parental alarm, but stressed that the disorder was still "rarity" in terms of frequency.
Most cases occur in children aged two to eight years. Almost all of them had fever and respiratory illnesses of three to ten days before they suddenly experienced paralysis in their arms or legs.
In some children, the paralysis was later gone, but at least half did not recover, Mesonijer said.
The Center analyzed 125 spinal fluid samples, and half tested positively on rhinovirus or enterovirus, which most commonly produce symptoms such as fever, milk nose, vomiting, diarrhea and body pain.
However, scientists are still confused about the precise cause of sudden paralysis, as these viruses are common, but MFA is not.
"We are trying to find out who are the drivers that could cause someone to develop the MIP," Mesonijer told reporters.
"Perhaps one of the viruses we have already discovered may be a virus that we have not yet discovered, or perhaps a virus that launches another process that activates the MFA through an autoimmune process," he said.
"CDC is a science-led agency, and at the moment science does not give us an answer," he added.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for parents is that there is no way to prevent it, nor specific therapies or interventions.
"Parents and caregivers are urged to seek emergency medical care for a child who develops a sudden weakness of the arm or leg," it was written in the latest CDC MIP report published on Tuesday.
Messonnier said that the CDC had not followed all of the MFA cases since 2014, which caused some glitches in finding out the federal agency on the disease that experts are now trying to solve.
The child with MCR died in 2017, according to the report.