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Polio Like Virus on the Rise- New health Scare in Town?

by | December 3, 2018

A new mysterious, and fast-acting virus that is sickening children across the USA has parents worried, and federal health officials warning about its fast acting and polio-like symptoms. The rare condition, called ‘Acute Flaccid Myelitis’, (AFM) has sickened one hundred and, sixteen people so far this year..This polio like virus is the latest health scare in town!

polio like virus
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Polio Like Virus on the Rise!

Acute flaccid myelitis begins as a respiratory condition and can quickly progress to paralysis within hours, so early intervention and treatment is crucial.

AFM affects an area of the spinal cord named gray matter, and causes muscle weakness, paralysis in the arms and legs, drooping of the face and eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty breathing, moving their eyes or swallowing. These symptoms can be temporary, but sometimes, for reasons unknown to doctors, they can persist.

The CDC expressed that, while there are rare cases, this particular virus could cause other serious illnesses that are triggered by AFM.
The condition can be brought on by the virus, West Nile, a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes, causing flu-like symptoms, although the CDC hasn’t been able to isolate any viral link in this outbreak.


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Aaron Michael Milstone, an associate epidemiologist and an associate professor of pediatrics at Hopkins says the AFM outbreaks seem to coincide with cold and flu season. Children are presenting with weakness in the body, starting in an arm or a leg which can sometimes progress to paralysis, says Milstone, a terrifying prospect for any parent trying to prevent their children from catching it. This polio like virus is raising concerns at present. 

Diagnosis

AFM is usually diagnosed in a doctors office, where the patient is  examined for muscle weakness and other side effects. An MRI will help in discovering the spinal cord and any swelling around the brain. The CDC stresses that the medical intervention needs to happen immediately.

Reported Cases

Colorado state has had more cases than any other state, with fifteen confirmed cases this year. Texas has the second-highest number in the country with. fourteen reported cases.

Although the number of cases reported this year are high, they’re not the highest ever seen for this disease, with one hundred and forty-nine confirmed cases in thirty-nine states and D.C. in the year,  2016.

Prevention

Currently, there is no medicinal way to prevent AFM. Experts recommend frequent hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes while using mosquito repellent to avoid any potential bites.

To find out more about the polio like virus and effective prevention measure, refer to the Center of Disease Control website on Acute flaccid myelitis.


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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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