Polio-like illness rates rising

Desiree Burns
November 8, 2018

The numbers keep climbing for a mysterious disease causing sudden weakness and paralysis.

The number of measles cases in the United States so far this year has surpassed 2017 with the potential for about a quarter of the highly contagious respiratory infections to be occurring in one New York county north of New York City.

'Tuesday into Wednesday, cold-like symptoms. "As the week progressed, (he) had a headache and neck pain", Brian said.

After doctors ran several tests, he was diagnosed with AFM.

Even with an increase in cases since 2014, AFM remains a very rare condition. They are on the lookout to detect the cause for this infection.

Patients start off having flu-like symptoms including sneezing and coughing. There were 120 confirmed cases of the illness in 2014 and 22 in 2015 for example.

The news took a toll on Brandon, who was left wheelchair-bound because both his legs and his right arm were completely paralyzed.

A nerve transfer is when a healthy nerve is cut and transferred to the end of an injured nerve to restore movement or sensation.

"I was able to move a nerve that wiggles the toes to the hips", said Dr. Moore.

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His family eventually turned to Dr. Amy Moore, of Washington University in St. Louis.

During a recent interview for "CBS This Morning", CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told co-host John Dickerson he was calling for a special task force to investigate AFM.

Because a nerve transfer can result in the loss of movement or sensation in the location where the "donor nerve" was, the procedure can be risky.

The CDC said it is now hard to interpret yearly trends of the AFM data since collecting information about AFM patients is relatively new.

Dr Moore performed the surgery on Brandon's legs 14 months ago at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

There have been 80 confirmed cases of the polio-like illness known as AFM in 25 states this year as of Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. During Friday's check-up, Brandon said now he only uses his wheelchair to play basketball. "Thanks to Miss Doctor Moore, I can go outside, play with my brothers, play football".

A rare but serious polio-like illness called Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, is sweeping the nation.

That's eight more confirmed cases since last week and 20 additional patients under investigation.

While it resembles polio, it's exact cause is actually unknown, although some sort of virus is suspected.

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