Polio-like paralysis is leaving people partially paralyzed

Maizie Ecker, Staff Writer

A very rare disease called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM, which has similar effects like polio, is spreading throughout the United States and since Monday, Nov. 26, there have been 126 cases of AFM confirmed.

  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has noted an every other year pattern in cases of AFM with 120 confirmed cases in 2014, 22 cases in 2015, 149 cases in 2016 and 33 cases in 2017. The CDC said that they are still in the process of investigating 286 other cases.

 There are only around 450 confirmed cases from 2014, which is why this disease is so rare. One virus called EV-D68 was the original suspect because EV-D68 was circulating during the first cases of AFM in 2014. This year in Colorado, a virus called EV-A71 was circulating and was associated with many of the 14 cases there. Both EV-D68 and EV-A71 are in the same family of viruses as the polio virus.

  Some children that have AFM can recover, but some have it for the rest of their lives. For example, Carter Roberts from Virginia died back in September from having AFM for the past two years. Scientists and doctors are still trying to figure out ways to get rid of the virus, but because of how rare AFM is, it might take a while before a cause is found.