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Do not panic about AFM, the polio-like childhood disease

In the fall of 2014, Kevin Messacar worked at the University of Colorado Children's Hospital when he and his colleagues…

In the fall of 2014, Kevin Messacar worked at the University of Colorado Children‘s Hospital when he and his colleagues noticed a number of unusual polio-like cases in young people.

Messacar did not know then, but they were dealing with the nation’s first outbreak of acute windy myelitis or AFM-a virus-borne neurological condition that affects the spinal cord’s gray matter and may cause paralysis.

There was another nail in 2016 and now there is a new outbreak going on. Centers for Disease Control reported Tuesday that it had confirmed 62 patients with AFM of 127 suspected cases in 22 states since August.

The average patient age is 4 years and the symptoms are alarming: face-hanging, sudden weakness in limbs, a sudden inability to speak.

The current lookup in case has made AFM the scary disease of the moon, its “polio-like” ability to attack the nervous system of children who leave parents in fear.

But Messacar, an infectious nurse, pediatrician and researcher, said the public could relax. While AFM is a serious disease, the panic is “incorrect to capture the image”, with the chance of getting the virus to be around a million.

The recent focus on AFM, he says, is partly driven by the patient

Nancy Messonnier, Head of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, agreed.

“As a parent, I understand that I understand what it’s like to be afraid of your child,” she says. Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase of cases we see now. “

Messacar , who has published a series of paper on AFM, said that the most likely culprit is a couple of viruses, enterovirus D68 and A71

, which are in the same family as polio but slightly different in structure.

Health officials believe that AFM is triggered when D68, A71, or other related viruses (West Nile and Japanese encephalitis have also been linked to it at lower rates) attacking a child’s nervous system, which causes AFM to grab.

Children who have received the polio vaccine are not protected from AFM and the best prevention public health advisers can offer is to wash your hands and cough or sneeze in your elbow’s villain.

The roof of this year’s outbreak is consistent with the cycle of enterovirus.

“Enterovirus D68 has appeared every two years in the United States since 2014, Messacar said.” The pattern of every two years or so in circulation is a well-described pattern for this virus family. For example, enterovirus A71 has caused widespread epidemics of hand, foot and mouth disease and neurological diseases in South Asia over the last decade or so with recurring patterns like this. “

” The best preventive counseling public health officials can offer is washing your hands and coughing or sneezing in your elbow’s villain. “

” The cadence of AFM outbreaks means that environmental contamination or a genetic condition is unlikely to be the cause, “said Messacar.” Virus is more likely a sinner to what we have seen cyclically, “he said.

CDC suggested this week that rhinovirus-closely related to enterovirus and related to cold-can be another sin.

Messakar said it’s not a bad hypothesis. “If you swept the nose of random people on the streets, 40 percent of them will have rhinovirus without any symptoms, “he said.” It is a common cold [virus] that we are constantly exposed to. There is much more epidemiological evidence and scientific support for the enterovirus D68 an A71 in these cases, but rhinovirus has been detected in several children. “

Enteroviruses D68 and A71 did not come suddenly until 2014; researchers have known their existence since the 1960s, but the virus did not appear in these two-year clusters until 2014.

” We did not know if this virus should come and go away, or if it would come back and repeat in pattern, he said. But now that AFM makes a third return in a clear two-year pattern, Messacar said that monitoring needs to be improved. “We do not know what’s going to happen in 2020, but seeing the pattern every two years in the last four years means we have to prepare.”

Although rare, the disease is “potentially devastating,” Messacar said. “We have not seen cases of permanent paralysis like this since the era of the poliovirus. Although these cases are unusual, they are potentially life-changing and can lead to life-long illness. It should be taken seriously.”

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