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Senators Murray and Cantwell want more from CDC on growing number of AFM cases

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U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are asking the Centers for Disease Control for more information about a mysterious disease that causes paralysis.

At last check, two kids in Western Washington are confirmed to have acute flaccid myelitis. Five other children in our state are being tested for it.

In a letter to the CDC Director on Thursday, Murray and Cantwell said they’re concerned with the number of cases identified this year, not just in our state, but nationwide.

The senators say the mysterious disease is particularly alarming since the majority of suspected cases involve children. Health officials say they don’t know what causes it, and there’s no cure for it.

Acute flaccid myelitis, also called AFM, is a rare but serious condition that affects the nervous system, with a particular focus on the gray matter of the spinal cord. It affects fewer than one in a million people each year across the country, the CDC estimates.

Murray and Cantwell want to know what the agency is doing to find a treatment for AFM, how the public and providers are being informed about the disease, how accurately states are reporting potential or confirmed cases, and anything else the agency is doing to address the rising number of cases in the U.S.

CDC has until October 24 to respond.

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