CDC Confirms Case of Rare Polio-Like Disease in Louisiana
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control have confirmed a case of Accute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) in Louisiana. This extremely rare and serious disease attacks the nervous system, specifically "the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak," mimicking some of the same symptoms Polio does. Researchers have no idea what causes it, and there is no known treatment or cure. So far, this is the only case found in the Bayou State this year - but the number of cases in the United States in on the rise.
Currently, 118 U.S. cases have been confirmed this year, but the CDC is worried there might be quite a few more. Right now, 170 possible AFM cases are being investigated by health officials across the country. That might seem like a statistically irrelevant number when you consider that the U.S. has roughly 325 million living in it - but the number of reported cases has been growing since 2014, and it certainly has the CDC's attention.
Right now Colorado leads the nation in confirmed AFM cases with 15, followed by Texas at 14. According to NOLA.com, the majority of those who have contracted the disease are children ages 4 years old and younger. Symptoms include: Fever and cough about three to ten days before the onset of paralysis.