Senator urges Congress to fund battle against polio-like disease

Senator urges Congress to fund battle against polio-like disease

Cases are still quite rare, however - fewer than 1 in a million children are affected. Now a lawmaker from NY wants to bolster funding to the CDC to figure out what is going on.

The Douglas County Health Department told our sister station WOWT the young patient met some, but not all, the criteria for a confirmed case of AFM. The good news is that the CDC just announced they are creating a task force to research AFM and track it.

Acute flaccid myelitis rates have spiked in recent years, mostly affecting children, and can cause paralysis. In 2014, there were 120 confirmed cases of AFM, and two years later in 2016, there were 149 cases.

Two cases have been confirmed in Iowa. In the most severe cases, the illness can leave a patient paralyzed. But those who are infected suffer life-altering consequences.

Q: This new polio-like illness has been in the news a lot lately.Can you help me understand what this is all about?

CDC has learned several important facts about AFM since 2014, CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday. In addition, most patients developed AFM in the late summer and fall.

Symptoms tend to occur about a week after a child has had a fever and respiratory illness.

"Most of them are between 2 and 8 years old", she said. Although the CDC has encouraged doctors to report cases, there is no requirement to do so.

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. "Parents are extremely anxious about what this disease means for their children, but doctors still don't know what causes AFM or how it spreads", said Senator Gillibrand. As Congress finalizes the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill, Gillibrand will call on Congressional appropriators to provide the emergency funding necessary to give the CDC the resources it needs to investigate, treat, and prevent this debilitating disease. Check back for updates.

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