Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Healthy Living: CDC closer to answers on mysterious illness, AFM

We expect to learn more soon about a rare and mysterious illness affecting kids across the country.

We're learning more about Acute Flaccid Myelitis , or AFM.  It's a serious, and rare condition that resembles polio.  This year the Centers for Disease Control says there have been nine confirmed cases in Washington state.  Although we still don't know what's causing AFM, a team of experts are getting closer to some answers.

AFM affects the spinal cord and causes limb weakness and even paralysis.  What we know, according to the latest update from the CDC is most patients who have AFM had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before contracting the condition.  What doctors don't know is why some people get AFM from a virus and others don't.

AFM has been reported in 46 states.  With nine confirmed cases, Washington state is on the higher end.  Only Colorado, Texas and Ohio have more cases.  The CDC says more than ninety-percent of the AFM cases are in children.

Right now, the CDC is gathering a task force, working to find possible risk factors and causes for AFM.  Important answers may come down to finding a pathogen or germ in the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord.

While we wait for results, their message to the public and health care providers is to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of AFM and report it to state health departments.

AFM cases have been showing up nationwide since 2014.  Although people are hearing more about the mysterious illness this year, 2016 actually had more cases than what we're seeing currently.

If you'd like to read more about AFM and follow the latest update from the CDC, click here