Mysterious Paralyzing Disease AFM Reported In New York City, 30 States

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Mysterious Paralyzing Disease AFM Reported In New York City, 30 States

The illnesses have spiked in September each year and then tailed off significantly by November but this year the number has kept growing, CDC reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 116 cases this year of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare polio-like condition that can lead to paralysis, the HuffPost reported.

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Symptoms can be similar to those associated with polio virus and West Nile and include facial and eyelid drooping, facial weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, sudden limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs.

The New York Democrat has written a letter to Congressional appropriators, asking for CDC funding in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. I've been disturbed to read reports about this debilitating disease that has been affecting children in NY and across the country. AFM typically develops in the wake of an enterovirus (think: respiratory issues, fever), most often in children.

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"If a virus is the cause, it's possible the test is not good enough, or the germ left the spinal fluid by the time the tests were taken", said the CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who is overseeing the agency's outbreak investigation, in a statement. The CDC has a responsibility to give them answers. According to CNN, 10 more cases have been added to the running tally in the past week alone. The CDC began monitoring these cases after an outbreak in 2014. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now".

Gillibrand said there have been two confirmed cases in NY state so far. No other information about the child has been released.

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According to Gillibrand, it's early in the legislative process and she is seeking allies in congress to secure the $1 billion requested, in line with amounts granted for investigations into Ebola and Zika virus. "The vast majority of (patients) are children between 2 and 8 years old". However, she would like to see a related appropriations bill enacted by December 7, a looming deadline to avert a government shutdown.

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