November 14 (UPI) – The mysterious condition that causes paralysis in children continues to confuse public health officials.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 90 cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, in people in 27 countries. CDC investigates 252 patients who may have AFM, a number that has jumped 33 patients since last week.
"Classification of cases is important because we are trying to figure out what triggers the AFM and we are working to speed up the process," said Nancy Mesonijer, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, at a press conference Tuesday. "But taking care of the patient is the number one priority for doctors and the health department."
The poliological state leads to respiratory illnesses between three and 10 days before the victim experienced a weakness in the extremities. Some of these victims experience paralysis.
Most cases of AFM are children between 2 and 8 years of age. About half of them are male.
No one died of AFM in 2018, and about half of patients fully recover from the condition. However, Messonnier said, the other half suffers from permanent disability.
"Currently there are no targeted therapies or interventions with sufficient evidence to support or detect their use," Messonnier said. "We advise doctors to speed up neuroscience and consulting on contagious diseases in order to discuss treatment and management."
Experts and CDC still do not know what causes the condition.
The Agency has established a working group of national experts to develop a research program, in particular to find a trigger and why it affects some children. The agency has been working since 2014 when the first cases have appeared in order to find out the causes and find treatments, including work with doctors who treat AFM patients in 2014.
"What we need to solve is that it is a trigger for AFM," Messonnier said.
"As a mom, I know how to be afraid of your child, and I understand that parents want answers," she added. "CDC is a science-led agency, and science does not give us an answer now."