ATLANTA — As parents become more worried about a mysterious illness that's paralyzing children, new numbers show more kids are getting it.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 16 more AFM cases on Monday. That brings the number of confirmed cases this year to 106.
They are in 29 states, including Georgia.
[MORE: CDC information on AFM]
There are still 167 possible cases of AFM that are not confirmed.
To figure out what is happening, the CDC is creating a new task force. Medical experts will look for a cause, how to treat it and prevent the serious symptoms like paralysis. Their first report is due on Dec. 6.
What CDC Doesn't Know
- 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.
What CDC Is Doing
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.
- Urging healthcare providers to be vigilant for AFM among their patients, and to send information about suspected cases to their health departments
- Verifying clinical information of suspected AFM cases submitted by health departments, and working with health departments and neurologists to classify cases using a case definition adopted by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
- Testing specimens, including stool, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid, from suspected AFM cases
- Working with healthcare providers, experts, and state and local health departments to investigate and better understand the AFM cases, including potential causes and how often the condition occurs
- Providing new and updated information to healthcare providers, health departments, policymakers, the public, and partners in various formats, such as scientific journals and meetings, and CDC's AFM website and social media
- Using multiple research methods to further explore the potential association of AFM with possible causes as well as risk factors for AFM. This includes collaborating with experts to review MRI scans of people from the past 10 years to determine how many AFM cases occurred before 2014, updating treatment and management protocols, and engaging with several academic centers to conduct active surveillance simultaneously for both AFM and respiratory viruses.
Cox Media Group