ATLANTA — More people are getting sick from a rare condition that can paralyze children.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday it is investigating 155 patients with AFM.
That is nearly 30 new cases from last week.
A Clayton County woman wants you to know it can affect adults too.
Tandrea Watkins is paralyzed from the waist down.
She reached out to Channel 2 Action News after seeing our story about a Cartersville toddler suffering from partial paralysis.
"My thing is you get sick, common cold, flu, anything, go to the doctor. If you start seeing weakness, go see somebody, because it could happen all in a matter of seconds,” Watkins said.
The CDC has confirmed 62 cases of AFM in 22 states this year, including Georgia.
Since 2014, CDC has learned the following about the AFM cases:
Most patients are children.
The patients’ symptoms have been most similar to complications of infection with certain viruses, including poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, and West Nile virus.
Enteroviruses most commonly cause mild illness. They can also cause neurologic illness, such as meningitis, encephalitis, and AFM, but these are rare.
CDC has tested many different specimens from AFM patients for a wide range of pathogens (germs) that can cause AFM. To date, no pathogen (germ) has been consistently detected in the patients’ spinal fluid; a pathogen detected in the spinal fluid would be good evidence to indicate the cause of AFM since this condition affects the spinal cord.
- Among the people who were diagnosed with AFM since August 2014:
- The cause of most of the AFM cases remains unknown.
- We don't know what caused the increase in AFM cases starting in 2014.
- We have not yet determined who is at higher risk for developing AFM, or the reasons why they may be at higher risk.
- We do not yet know the long-term effects of AFM. We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly, and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care.
CDC is actively investigating AFM cases and monitoring disease activity. We are working closely with healthcare providers and state and local health departments to increase awareness for AFM. We are encouraging healthcare providers to recognize and report suspected cases of AFM to their health departments, and for health departments to send this information to CDC to help us understand the nationwide burden of AFM. CDC is also actively looking for risk factors and possible causes of this condition.
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