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Here's what you need to know about acute weak myelitis

Two children in Massachusetts have contracted a serious, rare disease that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, according to the state's…

Two children in Massachusetts have contracted a serious, rare disease that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, according to the state’s public health institution.

The state’s first case this year of acute weak myelitis, or AFM, was confirmed in August, according to the department, which investigates four other suspected cases. There is no specific treatment or cure for the disease.

The Disease Control and Prevention Centers have actively investigated AFM since 2014 and “monitor” the disease activity. According to CDC from August 201

4 to September 2018, 386 confirmed cases of AFM have been reported to the Federal Bureau and the cause of the majority of cases has not been confirmed. So far in 2018, 62 cases have been confirmed in 22 states.

We talked to Dr. Leslie Benson, deputy director of the neuroimmunology program at the Boston Children’s Hospital, to learn more about the disease, which has been described as resembling polio .

What is acute weak myelitis?

It is not “clear” what causes AFM, Benson explained.

“Probably it seems to be a viral infection – especially a fairly common viral infection,” she said. “But we do not know why it may affect the spinal cord in some patients. When it spreads the spine or parts of the brain stem it can cause quite sudden weakness and paralysis.”

Effects of AMF vary from face to face weaknesses to blue check for impaired breathing .

“It’s not just a virus that can do this. There are some viruses that can do that,” she says. “And we can not always detect them with every single patient for different reasons.”

The very Most of the cases are in children, especially young children, said Benson. She said, according to her experience, that four are patient ages, even if it is possible for younger children.

“I have seen [it in] someone from one to two up to teens, “she said.

What is the treatment?

There is no specific treatment that helps or reverses the effects of the condition.

” The majority of treatment is supportive, “says Benson.” If they can not breathe , we put them on a fan. If they are hurt, we treat their pain. We give them a lot of physical therapy and they get a lot of rehabilitation. “

While patients can show gradual improvement, she said that many remain with permanent long-term weakness.

Why is it described as polio-like?

Benson said that poliovirus is not a sinner in the AFM cases. [19659002] “[AFM is] is described as” polio-like “because it seems a lot like polio in the way we think it’s a viral infection of the spinal cord in the spinal cord, she says. “And, polio is the classic who does it or did it.”

So common is AMF?

“In general, it’s very rare,” she said. “But this year, two years ago, four years ago – so 2014 and 2016 – we definitely saw clusters of cases where we had several patients for a couple of months. And it did not feel rare during this the groups in a neurological department, but between these clusters we do not really see this condition at all. “

The season of the disease, when it occurs, appears to be August, September and October, Benson said.

What are the symptoms to look at?

Benson said she hopes there will not be many more cases in Massachusetts since the season is likely to end.

“The symptoms are usually weakness in an extremity that begins in one and sometimes spreads to other extremities,” she said. “And sometimes it’s an ax or hip that’s the first sign of weakness. It can also be pain-relegated in the back or in the limbs that are affected. They are the biggest, first signs of something happening.”

In addition to the sudden onset of muscle weakness, the state health department said sluggish speech, difficulty swallowing and difficulty in touching the eyes may also be experienced by patients.

“It’s a scary thing, and it’s hard not to be afraid of your own child, but it’s also an extremely rare thing,” Benson said. “The only thing in human control is good infection control.”

It includes coughing in your elbow, washing your hands and taking the precautions you would normally take to avoid colds.

“Other than the kind of general precautions, there is not much to do,” she said. “But if someone has been ill and starts to notice that the child is not walking or moving properly, you should check it out as soon as possible.”

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