CDC issues alert for polio-like illness | KOB 4
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CDC issues alert for polio-like illness

Emily Jaceks
December 18, 2018 07:37 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - 2018 is setting the record for a rare, but serious disease. There have been 158 confirmed cases of Acute Flaccid Myelitis, AFM, most of which are in children.

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So far New Mexico has only reported one, but is surrounded by states with the largest numbers. 

“I think you should be cautious and concerned,” Dr. Martha Muller, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of New Mexico Hospital said. “I do think it’s interesting. I don't think I can explain why there are more cases in those states and not in our state, but I think that's a stay tuned."

It's been a waiting game of sorts as well for the Centers for Disease Control. They’re working with state health departments and asking doctors to be on the lookout for this mysterious polio-like illness. They're hoping to gain more information as more cases are reported. 

“We don't have one particular pathogen that we know that's causing even most of the cases,” Dr. Muller said.

Doctors knows it attacks the nervous system, but a lot about it remains unknown. They say it comes on like a respiratory illness, but with AFM, things take an ugly turn.

“And what we noticed with that disease is that we have the acute onset of weakness in one or all, it just depends, of your arms or legs, associated with a decrease in muscle tone, and a decrease in reflexes,” Dr. Muller said.

There's also no known cause and according to Dr. Muller, treating and preventing the disease is nearly impossible. For now, the illness appears to be very individualized.

“So the neurologists that are generally caring for these patients will treat them on a case by case basis,” Dr. Muller said. 

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Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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